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. Instagram will soon become “Instagram from Facebook” and WhatsApp will turn into “WhatsApp from Facebook.” The company already follows this approach with its Workplace app. The Information first reported the planned changes, which Facebook confirmed directly.
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’s also very likely that you’ll see “from Facebook” on the splash screen for both apps. Facebook already made this exact change with Oculus.
“We want to be clearer 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.