WhatsApp, the popular instant messaging app that was acquired by Facebook in 2014 for a reported $19 billion, now has 2 billion users worldwide. Announcing the milestone in an official blog post on Wednesday, the company said that the service has allowed friends to stay in touch, families to share tender moments with each other, co-workers to collaborate and businesses to grow.
WhatsApp also highlighted the app’s end-to-end encryption that “keeps the information you send over WhatsApp secure, helping protect you from hackers and criminals. Messages are only kept on your phone, and no one in between can read your messages or listen to your calls, not even us. Your private conversations stay between you (and the recipient).”
However, aware about increasing government scrutiny over airtight digital encryption that many claims enable criminals to conduct their illegal activities with impunity, the company said it was working with “top security experts, (and employing) industry-leading technology to stop misuse as well as provide controls and ways to report issues — without sacrificing privacy.”
Every private message sent using WhatsApp is secured with end-to-end encryption by default. Encryption acts like an unbreakable digital lock that keeps the info you send over WhatsApp secure, helping protect you from hackers and criminals. 6/10
— WhatsApp Inc. (@WhatsApp) February 12, 2020
In an interview with The Wall Street Journal, WhatsApp CEO, Will Cathcart, reiterated the company’s commitment to privacy, saying the company will not give in to persistent demands from governments around the world to disable encryption on its service. However, he did say that the company will assist law enforcement agencies with their investigation by providing metadata as it deems fit.
Cathcart also claimed that WhatsApp will soon be interoperable with other Facebook services, including Messenger, although, he didn’t provide any timeframe for the integration. He further admitted that such an integration will have its limits, saying that neither app will be able to access all the features of the other, so it will be interesting to see how that plays out going forward.