Dominic Rushe reports:
Facebook announced the purchase of the mobile messaging service WhatsApp on Wednesday, in a $19bn deal that represents the social media company’s biggest acquisition yet.
Mark Zuckerberg, the founder of Facebook, described five-year-old WhatsApp as an “incredibly valuable” service that was well on its way to connecting 1 billion people around the world.
WhatsApp has more than 400m users around the world and claims it is adding more than 1 million new registered users a day. It allows unlimited free text-messaging and picture sending between users and is among the world’s most downloaded mobile apps. Facebook’s successful bid comes after Google reportedly made a $1bn offer for the company last year.
Read more on The Guardian. The article does not specifically address any privacy concerns or risks of Facebook getting its corporate hands on all these additional data, but a statement on WhatsApp’s website assures users that WhatsApp will operate independently:
WhatsApp will remain autonomous and operate independently. You can continue to enjoy the service for a nominal fee. You can continue to use WhatsApp no matter where in the world you are, or what smartphone you’re using. And you can still count on absolutely no ads interrupting your communication. There would have been no partnership between our two companies if we had to compromise on the core principles that will always define our company, our vision and our product.
Facebook also issued a statement that says, in part:
Facebook fosters an environment where independent-minded entrepreneurs can build companies, set their own direction and focus on growth while also benefiting from Facebook’s expertise, resources and scale. This approach is working well with Instagram, and WhatsApp will operate in this manner. WhatsApp’s brand will be maintained; its headquarters will remain in Mountain View, CA; Jan Koum will join Facebook’s Board of Directors; and WhatsApp’s core messaging product and Facebook’s existing Messenger app will continue to operate as standalone applications.