WhatsApp co-founders Jan Koum and Brian Acton agreed an eye-popping $19 billion for the then instant messaging startup on the 24th of February 2014.
Back then, the chat service was gaining traction with slightly over 400 million monthly active users. The most exciting bit of the platform then was that the service was simple, ads-free and secure.
Mark Zuckerberg saw the opportunity, made a move and struck the historic multi-billion deal, to be precise the largest purchase of a venture-backed company at that time. The co-founders maintained their positions at WhatsApp probably to protect the beliefs that the app was built on – privacy and simplicity. Back then a considerable number of users dropped the service fearing their privacy with Telegram reportedly the biggest benefactor. The primary business at Facebook is to sell ads so it’s understandable why the users panicked.
After the integration, WhatsApp will be sharing some information with Facebook and the Facebook family of companies. The information includes but not limited to type of OS, devices used, mobile carrier, ‘last seen’, data usage, sign up information and screen resolution, but will not include messages. While WhatsApp says that the move is to improve the services offered by both companies as well as give a chance for businesses to get in touch with prospective customers. The bitter truth is that WhatsApp is being readied for services like airlines, restaurants, and banks which will be tested on the app soon, of course, that is already confirmed.
Monetization of Facebook’s instant messaging apps-Messenger and WhatsApp has long been predicted. The process had started in the former and now it’s WhatsApp, but when anything untidy involves the world’s most popular instant chat platform be sure it is news. The leading service has over 1.1 billion monthly active users while Facebook’s has 1.7 billion people. The ratio is really tight yet the former generates nothing in form of revenue. In fact, even the $1 annual subscription was also ditched meaning the service is totally free.
In a blog post, the folks at WhatsApp defended the move claiming it is for the betterment of services to users. Contrary to users’ fear that their private messages and information could be sold to multi-billion corporations. According to the post, the folks claim that working hand in hand with Facebook will give WhatsApp team a deeper insight of user analysis, spam combat among other useful activities. They also claim that by connecting your phone number to the social media kingpin will better services it offers to users like friend suggestions or bring you relevant ads from businesses you already know.
Nonetheless, the company has once again assured users of their privacy saying their messages as still protected by the default end-to-end encryption.