Categories: Technology
| On
2023-12-06 9:36 AM

Meta’s Messaging Shake-Up: Cross-Platform Chat Ends, Regulatory Battles Begin – What’s Next for Facebook and Instagram?

  • Meta announces the end of cross-platform messaging between Facebook and Instagram from mid-December.
  • New cross-platform chats will be unavailable, and existing conversations will become read-only.
By Lethabo Ntsoane

In a recent update to support pages, Meta, the parent company of popular social media platforms Facebook and Instagram, has announced the discontinuation of cross-platform messaging between the two services. The change is set to take effect from mid-December, marking the end of an era that began over three years ago when the cross-platform messaging feature was first introduced in 2020.

Changes at a Glance

Here’s a breakdown of the upcoming changes:

FeatureStatus
Cross-platform messagingDiscontinued from mid-December
New cross-platform chatsUnavailable
Existing conversationsRead-only mode

Meta’s Official Statement

A Meta spokesperson, Alex Dziedzan, confirmed the decision, stating, “A few years ago, we introduced a new Messenger experience in Instagram DMs, which enabled people to message and call a FB account (Messenger) from an Instagram account and vice versa. Starting in mid-December, we will begin removing this feature.” However, users will still be able to message and call their contacts on Facebook, Instagram, or Messenger individually.

Evolution of the Feature

The cross-platform messaging feature was introduced to enhance Meta’s efficiency by building messaging features once and then rolling them out to all its products. At the time of its launch, Adam Mosseri, head of Instagram, suggested that this integration would result in a more streamlined experience for users across the Meta ecosystem. This move coincided with Instagram DMs adopting several features that were previously exclusive to Messenger, such as vanishing messages and selfie stickers.

Speculation and Regulatory Challenges

While the initial intention was to create a cohesive user experience, there was speculation that tying Meta’s services closer together could potentially complicate any future breakup of Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp. The integration of messaging services might make it challenging to delineate these platforms in the event of regulatory actions.

In an interesting twist of events, Meta is making these changes at the same time it challenges the European Commission’s decision to regulate Messenger as a “core platform service” under the Digital Markets Act (DMA). If Messenger were to fall under the EU’s tough new antitrust rules, Meta would be compelled to make it interoperable with other messaging services. Meta is arguing for an exemption, contending that Messenger is a feature of Facebook rather than a standalone messaging platform.

European Regulatory Landscape

Meta’s move to discontinue cross-platform messaging also aligns with its efforts to challenge the regulatory landscape in Europe. The company is seeking to avoid Messenger being designated as a “core platform service” under the DMA, a move that would require interoperability with other messaging services. Notably, the cross-platform messaging feature does not appear to have been introduced in Europe.

WhatsApp Unaffected, WhatsApp’s Future

While Meta challenges the regulatory designation for Messenger, there are indications that the company is not contesting a similar designation for its WhatsApp messaging service. Moreover, signs suggest that Meta is already working towards making WhatsApp interoperable as required by the DMA.

Conclusion

As Meta reshapes its messaging landscape, users can anticipate changes in the way they communicate across Facebook and Instagram. The discontinuation of cross-platform messaging highlights the dynamic nature of social media platforms and their responses to regulatory challenges. It remains to be seen how these changes will impact users and whether this move will have broader implications for Meta’s position in the social media landscape.

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Lethabo Ntsoane

Lethabo Ntsoane holds a Bachelors Degree in Accounting from the University of South Africa. He is a Financial Product commentator at Rateweb. He is an expect financial product analyst with years of experience in reviewing products and offering commentary. Lethabo majors in financial news, reviews and financial tips. He can be contacted: Email: lethabo@rateweb.co.za Twitter: @NtsoaneLethabo