Instant messaging appplications WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger will not combine and will operate independently, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has said.
The statement was made after WhatsApp’s recent announcement that information of users would be shared with Facebook. In 2014, Facebook acquired WhatsApp in a combined deal worth US$19bn.
Zuckerberg was speaking during a visit to Lagos, Nigeria where he told media on Wednesday that Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp were different products with different communities.
“The strategy is not to combine them over time but to have each played at their own strength,” he said. “WhatsApp is really a text messaging replacement — it’s faster, it’s more reliable, you can group text better — and that’s why I think a lot of people are using it.”
“Whoever you want to text, whether it is your closest friend or your family, down to somebody who has a store that you want to buy something from, if people feel comfortable they use WhatsApp to text those people,” Zuckerberg said.
He added that Messenger offered a different contact list of friends from Facebook and that users would not necessarily interact with regularly.
“You’re more likely to have someone in your Facebook friends that you went to college with, or went to high school with — someone you’re not as close to today and don’t have their phone number so you’re not connecting with them on WhatsApp,” Zuckerberg said.
“It’s their birthday you want to reach out them or say ‘hi’ and see how they are doing — you text those people on Facebook Messenger,” he said.
Zuckerberg said that WhatsApp was focused on being a utility that was fast and simple without a lot of frills, while Messenger focused on expression, fun and different kinds of formats.
Both services boast over a billion users.
“We think that the right strategy over time is not to combine them but let them work independently,” he said.
A week ago, WhatsApp announced it would begin sharing subscriber data with Facebook to giving advertisers better access to information on WhatsApp’s billion-strong user base.