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Why Does Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp Both Exist?

Facebook is in the process of merging its two messaging apps, Messenger and WhatsApp, and the two will continue to coexist. While Facebook is not promoting WhatsApp, it does have an interface ready for Messenger users to talk with WhatsApp users. The Messenger interface looks like Facebook, but it sports a small WhatsApp logo. It seems like Facebook is trying to give users more choices and keep users on the platform. But, does it really make sense to merge the two?

WhatsApp was first monetized through subscriptions, but soon realized that this was not making any money. WhatsApp dropped subscriptions and became free, and this drew the public in. A new wave of users flooded the market, increasing its penetration. WhatsApp became so popular that it got an investment from Sequoia Capital in 2011.

While Messenger was initially designed for chat, the service has evolved into a much more functional messaging app. The service is now connected to phone numbers and users can send and receive messages from anyone, without having to sign up for an account on either platform. Facebook is also working on features to make Messenger a more useful tool for consumers. One of the most notable changes is a lack of privacy controls and ads. While Messenger has been around for a few years, it has only recently started to get more popular.

Both WhatsApp and Instagram have their detractors. The founders of these apps left the company abruptly last fall, citing the same reasons. During internal message boards and a contentious staff meeting last December, dozens of WhatsApp employees clashed with Mark Zuckerberg over an integration plan. As a result, Facebook Messenger is now the preferred messaging service, but users of both apps aren’t fully compatible.

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