Meta is working on making it easier for users to switch between Facebook and Instagram accounts through a new profile switching tool.
Anyone using either app will be able to hop between them if they’ve linked those profiles through Meta’s centralized profile hub, the Accounts Center. When logged into one app, users can easily toggle between the apps now through the profile menu, where any linked accounts will appear.
— Meta Newsroom (@MetaNewsroom) September 26, 2022
Meta encourages users to enable “connected experiences” through the Accounts Center, which unifies identity across its products. The feature is in testing for now, but the test is widely available for iOS, Android and web users around the world.
At the same time that Meta wants users to rely on a centralized account across apps, the company is also making it simpler to create and manage multiple accounts. Now users can create new accounts with an existing Instagram or Facebook login rather than signing up from scratch, which was admittedly kind of annoying just to run your finsta or whatever. The new account creation feature, also a test for now, is available globally on iOS and Android.
While Meta, formerly Facebook, was once diametrically opposed to the idea of its users maintaining a bunch of different profiles, insisting on a single “real” identity instead, the company has changed its tune in recent years.
There could be a few reasons for that. A generous reading is that Meta knows that digital identity is increasingly fluid and multifaceted, particularly among younger users who are comfortable on pseudonym-friendly social platforms (TikTok, YouTube, Twitch, etc.). But Meta is also keenly aware that TikTok, its ascendant rival, is cutting into the time people spend on its own apps. Encouraging more accounts and more cross-platform logins might juice its user engagement numbers, making things look a little less dire on quarterly earnings calls and the like.
Another equally cynical reading is that Meta wants its suite of apps to be as interconnected as possible these days so that if regulators ever make good on threats to break up the company, it won’t be as easy as forcing it to sell Instagram, WhatsApp or its VR business. If regulators in the U.S. will ever actually come down on Meta and if they would even care about the technical realities of teasing apart its myriad products if they were to do so remains to be seen, but it’s certainly very Meta to defend against a perceived threat to its business at all costs.
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