Facebook is no longer a single social entity out to conquer the world. “Facebook is a family of apps,” Mark Zuckerberg said at the company’s F8 developers conference on Wednesday. A further description might be conglomerate, giant squid or anything else denoting a large, multi-tentacled entity.
There’s a fundamental shift happening at Facebook. The company is funnelling more resources than ever into Messenger, pumping it up with new features that it hopes will ape the success of Asian peers like WeChat and LINE.
The goal is to morph it into a platform teeming with useful, sometimes premium services. Most of those services will host ads or cost users money, and as those business models solidify on Messenger, Zuckerberg can migrate the few that work best onto the likes of WhatsApp and Instagram.
That’s how he’ll justify the $19 billion he paid for WhatsApp in Feb. 2014, and the $1 billion he paid for Instagram in April 2012. Over time, Zuckerberg wants Messenger to become something that looks more like an operating system than an app, hosting everything from games and entertainment, to payment services and business transactions — all on mobile.