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Mark Zuckerberg. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Facebook is starting to merge the messaging infrastructure of its apps WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger and Instagram, the Verge reports.

Why it matters: This is the latest move in Facebook's broader initiative to fuse individual apps and products, paving the way for users to be able to communicate cross-platform.

  • The integration comes as Facebook grapples with growing antitrust investigations in Congress and ongoing scandals.

Details: The shift comes with an update of Facebook's apps on Apple and Android devices, per the Verge, citing user reports.

  • Once updated, Instagram embeds Facebook Messenger functionality, and adds features including swipe-to-reply and the ability to “chat with friends who use Facebook."
  • CEO Mark Zuckerberg has previously indicated that he wants the system to be end-to-end encrypted.

Between the lines: Facebook acquired Instagram and WhatsApp in 2012 and 2014 respectively, but originally vowed to leave the platforms relatively untouched.

  • Both Instagram and WhatsApp's founders left Facebook's umbrella due to increased overreach by Zuckerberg.

The bottom line: By integrating these apps, Facebook may compete more directly with Apple’s iMessage, the Verge writes.

Go deeper

Nov 19, 2020 - Technology

Facebook says very few people actually see hate speech on its platform

Photo: Jaap Arriens/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Facebook said it took action on 22.1 million pieces of hate speech content to its platform globally last quarter and about 6.5 million pieces of hate speech content on Instagram. On both platforms, it says about 95% of that hate speech was proactively identified and stopped by artificial intelligence.

Details: In total, the company says that there are 10–11 views of hate speech for every 10,000 views of content uploaded to the site globally — or .1%. It calls this metric — how much problematic content it doesn't catch compared to how much is reported and removed — "prevalence."

3 hours ago - World

Map: A look at world population density in 3D

This fascinating map is made by Alasdair Rae of Sheffield, England, a former professor of urban studies who is the founder of Automatic Knowledge. It shows world population density in 3D.

Details: "No land is shown on the map, only the locations where people actually live. ... The higher the spike, the more people live in an area. Where there are no spikes, there are no people (e.g. you can clearly identify ... the Sahara Desert)."

Biden's Day 1 challenges: The immigration reset

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

President-elect Biden has an aggressive Day 1 immigration agenda that relies heavily on executive actions to undo President Trump's crackdown.

Why it matters: It's not that easy. Trump issued more than 400 executive actions on immigration. Advocates are fired up. The Supreme Court could threaten the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, and experts warn there could be another surge at the border.