In 2014, WhatsApp was acquired by Facebook for almost $21.8 billion – a huge amount even considering that at the time the messaging app already had 500 million users. Now it looks like a bargain as the number has quadrupled. Today, WhatsApp announced that it has reached the 2 billion users milestone.
“Private conversations that once were only possible face-to-face can now take place across great distances through instant chats and video calling,” a WhatsApp blog post said.
“There are so many significant and special moments that take place over WhatsApp and we are humbled and honoured to reach this milestone.”
The statement said WhatsApp remained committed to its “strong encryption” that enables users to connect privately even amid calls by law enforcement in the United States and elsewhere to provide more access.
“Strong encryption is a necessity in modern life. We will not compromise on security because that would make people less safe,” WhatsApp said. “For even more protection, we work with top security experts, employ industry-leading technology to stop misuse as well as provide controls and ways to report issues — without sacrificing privacy.”
Last week, child protection organizations called on Facebook to halt plans for strong encryption of all its platforms, saying that would allow predators to operate freely. Child protection groups have expressed fears that stronger encryption of online exchanges would facilitate the sharing of child pornography.
WhatsApp employs “end to end encryption” which can in many cases prevent law enforcement from accessing user data even with a court order.
The social network is working to extend end-to-end encryption across its messaging applications, including Facebook Messenger and Instagram.
This news comes shortly after WhatsApp become on the second non-Google app to reach 5 billion installs on the Google Play Store. Coincidentally, Facebook surpassed 2 billion users way back in 2017, which also has a popular messaging app in the form of Facebook Messenger.