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Instagram and WhatsApp are changing their names

Sorry, Mark, calling Instagram ‘Instagram from Facebook’ won’t make Facebook seem cool

Whatsapp and Instagram are about to get a rebrand – as the catchily titled “WhatsApp from Facebook” and “Instagram from Facebook”. 

The renaming comes from the apps’ owners, Facebook, who want to better link their platforms for marketing purposes. According to The Information, who first broke the news, Facebook will adopt the new names not only internally but on Google Play and The App Store, while the apps’ names will stay the same on your phone home screen for now – or at least until you open one of the two apps, when you’ll receive your friendly new reminder that they’re owned by Facebook. 

Why change now? Facebook says they want “to be clearer about the products and services that are part of Facebook”, but also to improve links between the products. For the same reason, you will soon be able to send an Insta DM to a WhatsApp chat, said Mark Zuckerberg earlier this year. “We want to give people a choice so they can reach their friends across these networks from whichever app they prefer,” wrote the tech CEO in a lengthy blog post

However, the deeper motivation behind the merges is not just to tidy up your inbox correspondence but to seemingly tidy up Facebook’s appearance, especially after the Cambridge Analytica scandal, which led to Facebook becoming associated with fake news and a lack of privacy. Zuckerberg has said that the renaming and integration is part of improved efforts to make Facebook a “privacy-focused platform”. 

As younger Facebook users drop off the social media service, but continue to use WhatsApp and Instagram, the renaming could also be a PR exercise in trying to make Facebook look cool again, by association. And yet, if the unimaginative new titles are anything to go by, it could also have the reverse effect, reminding us every time we open WhatsApp or Instagram, that in some ways, we might as well be using Facebook.