There are various reasons to keep the front-facing apps separate. A New York Times article detailed how Zuckerberg and his COO Sheryl Sandberg were slow to acknowledge the fact that Russian operatives had used Facebook as the vehicle for a coordinated disinformation attack created to undermine the USA presidential election in 2016.
Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook Inc's operations chief, had said that the platform needed to win back public trust after facing scandals for violating its users' privacy.
But messaging functionality would be shared across them, so users on Instagram could text people on WhatsApp. Alternatively, an Instagram user could send a direct message from the app to a WhatsApp user.
To be clear, all three will continue to function as standalone apps, but they will all benefit from the end-to-end encryption already implemented in WhatsApp.
In March 2018, Facebook was rocked by allegations that it improperly allowed United Kingdom data analysis firm Cambridge Analytica to access the personal data of as many as 87 million users without their consent.
One plus to the plan, according to those briefed on it, is that end-to-end encryption will be carried over from WhatsApp to all three apps (although Instagram is not a messaging service).
People consistently tell us that if they're going to see ads, they want them to be relevant.
"I'm sure most users won't notice and won't think twice about it", she said.
Wall Street Journal Editor-at-Large Gerry Baker on Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg's defense of the company. Although advertising to specific groups existed well before the internet, online advertising allows much more precise targeting and therefore more-relevant ads.
But Facebook, at the moment, is figuring out the finer details on how to make this big integration plan work, so more details are likely to be followed soon.
In short, the decision is a pretty obvious one for a large corporation to take. As the Times notes, WhatsApp only requests a phone number for sign-ups, whereas Facebook and Instagram require a "real" identity. Facebook had been testing the five-forwarding limit in the country after it experienced violence last summer after viral hoax messages resulted in more than a dozen lynchings, CNN reported.
But the benefits to Facebook are significant, including the ability to get rid of numerous (very expensive) software engineers that are now needed to support three different products.