WhatsApp at 10 - A journey of ups and downs
BusinessToday.In February 26, 2019
The last time WhatsApp tweeted from its official account was in August 24, 2016. However, yesterday evening marked its return to the micro-blogging platform to remind its followers that it has been 10 years since it embarked on a journey of connecting people. Just like any journey, WhatsApp too has had its fair share of ups, and some really 'low' downs. Lately, it has been called "irresponsible" and has often been caught in the blazing storms around misinformation, abuse and even violence. But, despite all this, one thing is for sure, WhatsApp has become an integral part of our lives.
The $19 billion messaging platform was launched on February 24, 2009 as a phone status app and since then it has successfully found a place in the crowded world of messengers. The first step towards the success was taken by its architect, Jan Koum, when he dropped the $1 annual fee, without introducing advertisements. Today, WhatsApp boasts of having over a billion active users, which means practically 1 out 7 people in this world use WhatsApp daily! The nearest and only rival to WhatsApp is its sibling, Messenger.
But what made WhatsApp so popular?
One of the major reasons for the success of Facebook-owned messaging platform is its availability on both Android and iOS platforms. WhatsApp took the users' phone contacts and turned it into a social network and solved the problem of discovering users using WhatsApp.The app's user-friendliness, ease of use and contacts discovery made it super easy to use and slowly replace SMS.
WhatsApp is regularly updated and now has features like group voice and video calls, unsend messages, location sharing, WhatsApp status, voice messages and more. Mobile phone companies have already lost the battle to WhatsApp and with data driving the market, the future of the messaging platform looks brighter.
Dark side of the WhatsApp!
What started off as an innocuous platform for connecting people, has now become a major channel for spreading hate speech and fake news. It's end-to-end (E2E) encryption protocol, while good for privacy, makes its difficult for the law enforcement agencies to nab the culprit. Indian government has often asked WhatsApp to address the misuse and disinformation and things are now changing slowly with WhatsApp taking steps to curb fake news in India.
Edited by Udit Verma