SAN FRANCISCO — Facebook began allowing people to use the photo-sharing app Instagram and the messaging app Messenger to communicate with each other on Wednesday, as part of a planned integration of the social network’s major messaging applications.
With the changes, people who use Instagram can now send photo, video or text messages to those who use Facebook Messenger, and vice versa. The two apps had operated separately, with no direct communication between them. Facebook said it would also add roughly 10 features to Instagram that were previously exclusive to Messenger, such as group video watch sessions, an ephemeral messaging mode and “selfie stickers.”
Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook’s chief executive, announced last year that he planned to knit together the company’s three messaging apps, Messenger, Instagram and WhatsApp, noting that more people were communicating privately online. That’s a marked difference from the early days of Facebook, when users publicly posted to their digital “walls.”
“We’re basically giving people the ability to do something they all want to do across apps,” said Stan Chudnovsky, vice president of Messenger at Facebook, in an interview.
More than 100 billion messages are sent across Facebook’s family of apps every day, Mr. Chudnovsky said. That far surpasses the roughly 24 billion SMS text messages exchanged daily on mobile carriers at their peak around 2015.
Lawmakers and regulators have expressed concerns that Mr. Zuckerberg’s integration plan is part of a strategy to keep authorities from breaking Facebook apart. The company is under intense antitrust scrutiny, especially over its acquisitions of smaller rivals over the years; its critics have argued that Facebook essentially neutralized competitive threats. Last month, Mr. Zuckerberg answered questions under oath as part of a Federal Trade Commission inquiry into whether Facebook had broken antitrust laws.
The opportunity in messaging is enormous. Much of the