WhatsApp announced today it has crossed the mark of 2 billion users today. It’s the second Facebook-owned service to achieve that milestone after the social network got to that number in 2017.
While WhatsApp has been the world’s most popular chat app, it’s had its fair share of controversy. Brian Acton and Jan Koum, the app’s co-founders, left Facebook in 2017 and 2018 respectively. Their reason for leaving the company was disagreement with management regarding the inclusion of ads in the app as a means of monetizing WhatsApp.
In 2018, India blamed the company heavily because of a video of people who were perceived as child kidnappers was circulated widely on the platform, which led to several lynchings in the country.
Last year, it was caught in the storm as NSO Group, an Israel-based security company, used a flaw in WhatsApp to target journalists and activists across the world. Later, in October, Facebook sued the Israeli firm.
Government across the world have pushed WhatsApp to allow traceability to track the origin of a potentially problematic message. However, the company has stood firm till now and said this function would require them to break the encryption and put the privacy of customers at risk.
In an interview published with the Wall Street Journal, Will Cathcart, CEO of WhatsApp, said “the company’s focus on encryption and privacy communications was “the right model” for messaging, despite the commercial and regulatory complications.”