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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."

Updated 1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

Here come Earmarks 2.0

DeLauro at a hearing in May 2020. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

The House Appropriations Committee is preparing to restore a limited version of earmarks, which give lawmakers power to direct spending to their districts to pay for special projects.

Why it matters: A series of scandals involving members in both parties prompted a moratorium on earmarks in 2011. But Democrats argue it's worth the risk to bring them back because earmarks would increase their leverage to pass critical legislation with a narrow majority, especially infrastructure and spending bills.

Ben Geman, author of Generate
2 hours ago - Energy & Environment

UN says Paris carbon-cutting plans fall far short

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Nations' formal emissions-cutting pledges are collectively way too weak to put the world on track to meet the Paris climate deal's temperature-limiting target, a United Nations tally shows.

Driving the news: This morning the UN released an analysis of the most recent nationally determined contributions (NDCs) — that is, countries' medium-term emissions targets submitted under the 2015 pact.