WhatsApp Users Hit 2 Billion Worldwide
By Adedapo Adesanya
Instant messaging service owned by Facebook, WhatsApp, now has 2 billion users worldwide, adding over 500 million users from 1.5 billion recorded in 2018.
According to WhatsApp, in a blog post, the milestone showed the importance of encrypting its users’ messages, a practice that is coming under increasing amounts of pressure from lawmakers around the world.
Governments are arguing that being unable to read people’s messages makes it harder to discover when the messaging app is being used to facilitate terrorism, child exploitation, and other crimes.
WhatsApp has continued to strongly defend its encryption technology, saying, “We will not compromise on security because that would make people less safe.”
“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.” WhatsApp noted in the blog.
Speaking on this, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO), WhatsApp, Mr Will Cathcart said that the company has no plans to disable encryption on its service, but said that WhatsApp will provide data whenever it is needed.
“For all of human history, people have been able to communicate privately with each other, and we don’t think that should go away in a modern society,” he noted.
WhatsApp’s parent company, Facebook has recently faced pressure from governments of the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, among others who pushed for encrypted services to build “safeguards” for law enforcement which they rejected.
Mr Cathcart said that despite Facebook’s CEO, Mr Mark Zuckerberg’s, plans to join together Facebook’s suite of social media platforms including Instagram and WhatsApp, this integration may have its limits, with some features that are present on a messaging service like Messenger not translating into WhatsApp.
WhatsApp at the 2 billion landmark has lesser users than Facebook which has 2.5 billion users globally but more than Instagram which has 1 billion users.