WhatsApp records 2 billion users, second only to Facebook

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Facebook-owned messaging app WhatsApp said on Wednesday it has amassed 2 billion users, becoming the second social media platform in the world to hit that milestone.

 

WhatsApp did not specify how it calculated the number of users but said it had 500 million users in 2014 when Facebook Inc bought the mobile-messaging startup for $19 billion to boost its popularity, especially among a younger crowd.

Recall, the messaging app reported having 1.5 billion users by the end of 2017. Despite its size, WhatsApp’s growth remains robust: It has gained 500 million new customers over the past two years.

Facebook has been trying to boost revenue from its high-growth units such as photo-sharing platform Instagram and WhatsApp. It has been building out WhatsApp’s e-commerce tools, as it moves toward monetizing the app.

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WhatsApp in November launched a feature for small businesses, the main users for WhatsApp Business app, that offered them a “mobile storefront” to showcase their wares with images and prices.

Facebook had about 2.50 billion monthly active users as of Dec. 31, the company said.

WhatsApp touts its end-to-end encryption technology, which ensures that all contents in chats are secured by default. Not even WhatsApp can read messages or listen to calls that take place among the participants of conversations, according to WhatsApp’s blog posts.

But the encryption technology has drawn backlash across the world for security reasons. In India, where it has more users than any domestic messaging apps, the government has called for regulations that give it access to encrypted data. In Australia and the United Kingdom, similar laws are also in discussion.

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