A move by social media giant Facebook has revealed that Instagram will now be known as ‘Instagram from Facebook’ – this is an attempt by Facebook to take greater ownership of its brands.
Facebook bought the photo-sharing app in 2012 for around $1billion (over R14 billion).
It expanded further by buying messaging service WhatsApp two years later in 2014.
But now according to The Information the apps will become ‘Instagram from Facebook’ and ‘WhatsApp from Facebook’.
The move is a considerable departure for Facebook, which has previously allowed its subsidiary apps to operate with a degree of independence and without a visible connection to their parent company.
But after the social media platform named its Slack competitor Workplace by Facebook the trend appears to have spread.
Facebook and Instagram employees were reportedly notified about the change recently.
The move to draw Instagram and other apps closer to Facebook is puzzling, as the tech giant has been embroiled in numerous scandals which haven’t yet touched the photo-sharing platform.
Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, 35, is reportedly frustrated that the company he created in 2004 hasn’t been credited with the popularity of Instagram and its other apps.
Rather than tarnish those apps with Facebook’s political troubles, he seems to be hoping the more positive feelings about Instagram might rub off on Facebook.
‘We want to be clearer about the products and services that are part of Facebook,’ said Facebook spokeswoman Bertie Thomson.
Zuckerberg has previously sought to allow users of any of his apps to send messages seamlessly between services.
He has also taken steps to remove any executives at Instagram and WhatsApp who might slow down the changes he wants to make.
Mark Zuckerburg Picture: Instagram
The founders of both apps resigned last year with little advance notice, only to be replaced with longtime Facebook executives.
The company purchased WhatsApp in 2014, when the service boasted 600 million monthly users; it now has one billion monthly users.
Facebook also likely sees opportunity for growth with Instagram, which has grown at the fastest rate of all its apps, whereas growth for the main service has remained flat.
Zuckerberg’s company recently confirmed that the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) launched an antitrust lawsuit against it, and Bloomberg has reported that the investigation is centered around the app acquisitions.
Currently, the information is largely absent from public dialogue; a 2018 survey by the search engine DuckDuckGo found that over half of all Americans aren’t aware of Facebooks stake in Instagram or WhatsApp.
Zuckerberg’s goal may be to increase transparency about its acquisitions for users, though the move may backfire and alert Instagram users to potential monopolization.
Facebook has been beset by controversies in the last few years.
The social media service was faulted in the wake of the 2016 US election for selling space for political ads to companies connected to the Russian intelligence community.
It has also been faulted for its failures policing hate speech and sexist, racist and homophobic posts.
The company admitted in 2018 that it had been too slow to remove racist and Islamophobic posts that have helped fuel a genocide against the Rohingya Muslim minority group in Myanmar.
The site’s live video streaming service also came under fire after an Australian white supremacist posted live video of his two consecutive attacks on mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand this March.
He murdered 51 people and 49 more were injured, but Facebook took no major steps to prevent similar atrocities from being broadcast to billions of people, though the company did block subsequent reposts of the disturbing footage.