(Pocket-lint) - Facebook is integrating Facebook Messenger, Instagram and WhatsApp messaging. While each app will still exist, you'll be able to send messages from Messenger to WhatsApp users who don't have a Facebook account.

The move - which has been mooted for a while - could pave the way for the services to be much more tightly integrated in future. 

If you're anything like us, the move will mean you can dump Facebook Messenger for good and just use WhatsApp instead. It'll probably mean you'll need to log in to WhatsApp using your Facebook credentials. 

The move is currently slated for either late this year or 2020 and will involve some fundamental rewrites to how each platform currently works according to sources citied by the New York Times. 

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The newspaper spoke to four people involved in the initiative which has apparently come direct from Mark Zuckerberg. The fact the news has been leaked is probably an indication that it's a contentious issue internally at Facebook. 

WhatsApp already uses end-to-end encryption but, apparently, the integrated services will all use it. The idea behind all this, of course, is to keep you within Facebook's ecosystem as much as possible, discouraging you from moving across to rival apps or using iMessage and other messaging services like Skype.

Naturally, an increase in loyalty - time spent within the Facebook ecosystem - means Facebook can make increased advertising revenue. 

Writing by Dan Grabham.