Ex-WhatsApp CBO Regrets $22 Billion Sale to Facebook
WhatsApp was started in 2009, and in 2014, Mark Zuckerberg’s Facebook, which is now known as Meta, bought it. Time and time again, Brian Acton, who helped start WhatsApp, has criticized Facebook for messing with user data and making money off of it.
Neeraj Arora, who used to be the head of business for WhatsApp, 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 to WhatsApp.
In a recent tweet, Arora talked about how sad he was to have helped sell the most popular chat app in the world to Facebook. He said that since 2012, Facebook has been trying to buy WhatsApp. He said that WhatsApp turned down the first offer to buy it out, but it was tricked by the second one.
Arora said that Facebook contacted WhatsApp again in 2014 with “an offer that looked like a partnership.” Then, the company led by Zuckerberg 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. We can see now, though, that the company didn’t meet 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 head of business operations for WhatsApp also said that he and his team made it clear to Facebook that they do not want user data to be mined, ads to be shown, or tracking to happen across platforms. 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 do. We all remember what happened with Cambridge Analytica, right?
“Today, Facebook’s second-biggest 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 is sad that it was bought by Facebook when it was,” Arora said.
Meta has been working for a few years to connect Instagram, Facebook, and WhatsApp so that users can have a smooth experience across all platforms. Recently, WhatsApp added features like being able to share your status directly on Facebook Stories. This is something that the core WhatsApp team has always been against. And ads are likely to start showing up on the platform very soon.
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