The funny thing about Facebook’s “Messenger-WhatsApp-Instagram can chat to each other” idea…

…is that they could actually do this in a way that doesn’t upset users, the press, European data privacy watchdogs, and Cory Doctorow (and me.)

It’s called interoperability, and they could achieve it not by bringing everyone on the same underlying platform, supposedly to create an even better user experience for Facebook’s ad targeting customers and data mining partners and locking users in an even worse silo than now.

But by using something we liked to call “open protocols” in the early days of the web.

Think XMPP, think WebRTC, think Matrix, and the ones that I don’t think of now. (The irony being of course that Messenger actually used to be XMPP…)

Granted, this would have the side effect of actually creating an open communication ecosystem, where multi billion users would actually be enabled to talk to any other users on any other open communications platform, via gateways-and-whatnot. This would also put considerable pressure on the others (Apple, Google, maybe Slack) to open up… and maybe the absolutely bonkers perspective of ending up where we started back in the day when I could chat to Facebook buddies from Google Talk. (Yes, that was XMPP.)

Of course I’m sure Facebook sees this too and will do everything in their power to avoid this dystopian future where they are the good guys.

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