Facebook owns Instagram and WhatsApp and Mark Zuckerberg is goddamn sick of having to remind people about that fact. Just how uncool can Facebook make Instagram and WhatsApp? If exerting more influence over the direction of both apps by installing Facebook executives wasn’t enough, now the social network giant is going to add “Facebook” to their names. The company already follows this approach with its Workplace app. The Information first reported the planned changes, which Facebook confirmed directly.
According to The Information, Facebook is set to change the names of Instagram and WhatsApp to better reflect their second-tier status and better credit Facebook for the apps’ growth. And just what, exactly, will the new names be?
Say hello to “Instagram from Facebook,” and “WhatsApp from Facebook.”
The new titles will appear in the title for both apps in Apple’s App Store and Google Play. On your device’s home screen, the name for each will mercifully remain the same (for now). But it is also very likely that you will see “from Facebook” on the splash screen for both apps. Facebook already made this exact change with Oculus.
“We want to be cleares about the products and services that are part of Facebook,” a spokesperson told The Information. Mark Zuckerberg has already unveiled his grand vision of a connected (and end-to-end encrypted) messaging system between Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp.
But some level of separation from Facebook, however artificial, has served both apps well with users. As Facebook has sagged in popularity with younger consumers, both Instagram and WhatsApp have soared.
The flex of control is also surprising in that it comes just as Facebook faces more antitrust scrutiny from the Federal Trade Commission, which is said to be looking into the company’s history of acquisitions. The Wall Street Journal yesterday reported that the FTC is examining whether Facebook’s many acquisitions were made with the goal of squashing competition. Now, two of the company’s most significant purchases will have Facebook stamped right onto their names.
Notably, the founders of Instagram and WhatsApp have all departed the larger Facebook family over the course of the past few years. In the case of Instagram founders Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger, the two reportedly bailed because they felt the Facebook team was too up in Instagram’s business. The founders of WhatsApp likewise had disagreements with their Zuckerberg-helmed corporate overlord.
Now that the founders are all gone, it seems Facebook will be the One Brand to Rule Them All — a risky move for a company with such a toxic brand following years of privacy scandals.
But hey, there is at least one undeniably good thing that will come out of this name change: People will no longer be able to overlook the fact that their lovely Instagram comes from a remarkably shady family.