- Instagram and WhatsApp are getting rebranded to “Instagram from Facebook” and “WhatsApp from Facebook.”
- The new names will show up in app stores and inside the apps.
- The change comes as Facebook faces an antitrust investigation from the FTC over its acquisitions of rival apps.
Instagram and WhatsApp are getting a rebrand – and Facebook’s name is being placed front-and-center.
The Facebook-owned apps are being renamed to “Instagram from Facebook” and “WhatsApp from Facebook,” displaying their parent company’s name far more prominently.
The Information first reported the news, and Facebook spokesperson Bertie Thomson subsequently confirmed the change to Business Insider.
The new name will show up in app stores and inside the apps, though they won’t display the new name on users’ phone homescreens. “We want to be clearer about the products and services that are part of Facebook,” Thomson said.
It’s a striking change, and seems likely to be controversial. Facebook’s brand has been battered over the past two years by constant scandals, while WhatsApp and Instagram have remained relatively crisis-free. For years, the $535 billion company has been content to keep its various apps at arm’s length, operating as independent team with significant autonomy (and even separate bathrooms). But more recently, Facebook has been attempting to exert more centralized control, sometimes provoking tensions and concerns among employees.
The cofounders of Instagram and WhatsApp have successively left the Silicon Valley tech giant over the past few years, with various reports pointing to tensions between them and Mark Zuckerberg as the 34-year-old billionaire chief executive has pushed to integrate the services more closely. Instagram and WhatsApp are now being tied intimately into Facebook, with an ambitious multi-year plan to allow users to send messages between the various apps and Messenger.
In June, Business Insider reported that Facebook is making employees of WhatsApp, Instagram, and VR unit Oculus switch to @fb.com email addresses from the product-specific ones they have historically used, in another sign of this drive for unification between the various disparate products.
Facebook is also facing an antitrust investigation by the US Federal Trade Commission, focused at least in part on its history of acquring other apps (like Instagram and WhatsApp) and whether these moves were anti-competitive. This closer integration may be an attempt to ward off potential antitrust action – but how it resonates with users remains to be seen.
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