WhatsApp was founded in 2009 and in 2014, Facebook bought it from Mark Zuckerberg, now known as Meta. Time and again, Brian Acton, who helped launch WhatsApp, has criticized Facebook for tampering with user data and making money from it.
Neeraj Arora, who used to be WhatsApp’s head of business, has now joined Acton and says he regrets helping to sell WhatsApp to Facebook. Arora is now the CEO of HelloApp, which is a competitor of WhatsApp.
In a recent tweet, Arora shared how sad he was to have helped sell the world’s most popular chat app to Facebook. He said that Facebook has been trying to buy WhatsApp since 2012. He said WhatsApp turned down the first offer to buy it out, but was misled by the second.
Arora said Facebook contacted WhatsApp again in 2014 with “an offer that looked like a partnership”. Then, under Zuckerberg’s leadership, the company made several promises, such as full support for end-to-end encryption, no ads (ever), complete independence in making product decisions, a board seat for Jan Koum, and his own office in Mountain View. and more. However, we can now see that the company has not met most of them.
Meta just put ads on Instagram and now there are rumors that the company is working on putting ads on WhatsApp soon. At the moment, the feature is said to be in the testing phase.
The former WhatsApp head of operations also said he and his team have made it clear to Facebook that they do not want user data to be mined, ads shown or cross-platform tracking. The company led by Zuck agreed, and Arora said, “We thought they believed in our mission because they agreed with them.” But Facebook didn’t really do what they said they would. We all remember what happened to Cambridge Analytica, right?
“Today, Facebook’s second largest platform is WhatsApp” (even bigger than Instagram or FB Messenger). But it’s not even close to the product we put our hearts into and wanted to make for everyone. “And I’m not the only one who regrets that Facebook bought it at the time,” Arora says.
Meta has been working for a few years now to connect Instagram, Facebook and WhatsApp so that users can have a smooth experience on all platforms. Recently, WhatsApp has added features such as being able to share your status directly on Facebook Stories. This is something WhatsApp’s core team has always been against. And ads are likely to appear on the platform very soon.
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