Facebook is further unifying Facebook, Instagram, and Messenger. The new Accounts Center portal will allow you to manage your account details across its properties, including cross-posting options and payment details. It's being tested with a subset of users starting this week.
Sync, don't think — What this all means in practice is if you frequently post the same pictures to Facebook and Instagram, you'll be able to toggle a setting that will automatically do this for you. Incredible, we know. You'll also be able to able to set your profile information and picture to synchronize across apps. If you still want to maintain separate identities on Facebook and Instagram, however, you can.
This linking of accounts makes sense because many Instagram users already sign-in using their Facebook identities, so the company likely has duplicate data it can sync between the two and make your life easier.
There will be people who don't want to sync pictures across both platforms, of course, because their network on Facebook might consist of family members whereas their friends are on Instagram.
Payment details can also be unified across apps later this year when Facebook Pay launches. If you're someone who buys things on Instagram or makes donations on Facebook, you'll be able to input your credit card details once and use them across both apps — making it easy to impulse-buy that cool looking toothbrush that's been in your feed for weeks. Shopping is an important part of Facebook's future because it will create a new revenue stream when the company takes a small cut of processing fees.
Privacy concerns — Synchronizing your Instagram account with Facebook won't change how much the company knows about you — it already transfers data from Instagram over to Facebook proper for advertising purposes, regardless of whether you have a Facebook account. The company has said in the past that making a transparent connection between the properties, such as by creating the "Instagram by Facebook" branding, is intended to make it clear to users who is collecting their data.
Some critics of Facebook speculate this intertwining of the separate apps is also an effort to make it difficult to break them apart in any potential antitrust case and push regulators to issue less punishing fines instead.