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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."

Tina Reed, author of Vitals
8 mins ago - Health

Study finds bias against Black patients written into medical charts

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Black patients were more than two-and-a-half times as likely as white patients to have negative descriptors about them in their electronic health record, according to a study published Wednesday in Health Affairs.

Why it matters: The study is further evidence of bias in the U.S. health care system, which can ultimately result in worse care and disparately poor outcomes.

Jan. 6 panel asks Ivanka Trump to cooperate with investigation

Former President Trump and daughter Ivanka Trump walk to Marine One on the South Lawn of the White House on January 4, 2020 in Washington, DC. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

The House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 Capitol riot sent a letter Thursday to Ivanka Trump requesting her cooperation with the investigation.

Driving the news: "We write to request your voluntary cooperation with our investigation on a range of critical topics," the chair wrote in a letter to the former president's daughter.