It’s no news that Facebook bought WhatsApp for a whopping 19 Billion dollars (which far exceeds its current worth). It was one of the most talked about things in recent memory and there were forums full of discussions regarding this. But the question is why did Facebook spend such a huge amount of money in order to acquire WhatsApp and more importantly how does this affect our social lives?
So why did Facebook buy WhatsApp?
Facebook without a doubt is the most successful social network out there with Twitter beings its closest competitor. Where Twitter is used as a way to take a peek at celebrity lives, Facebook is used as a way to portray your life online. But Mark Zuckerberg was smart enough to realize that as the competition for Facebook grows, chances are sooner or later their overall audience might begin to reduce. So therefore he made a calculated decision with the future of Facebook in mind and ended up acquiring WhatsApp.
WhatsApp is without the fastest growing social application in recent memory, it gained an amazing 450 million users globally and what’s even more impressive that 70% of the users are active every day. So buying WhatsApp gives Facebook 2 massive advantages, firstly they take one of their biggest potential threats out of the way and secondly it makes Facebook far more future proof. What a messaging application like WhatsApp offers to Facebook is access to an audience that they might have previously lost. For example majority of the younger audience became far more active on WhatsApp due to the fact it gives them the privacy and freedom to keep in touch with people directly, whereas Facebook is a place where their senior relatives or parents might be able to trespass.
Simply put, buying WhatsApp is a decision Facebook had to make in order to stay relevant in the near future, if any of the competitors such as Google or Yahoo would have acquired WhatsApp first that would have affected Facebook in a negative way. So you know what they say ‘Make your biggest enemy your best ally’
What this means for the users?
When asked whether or not this deal will affect the users Facebook replied ‘Well there won’t be any massive changes that will affect the overall user experience’. As most of you have already noticed Facebook’s original messenger and WhatsApp’s core messaging product have remained standalone applications, therefore avoiding any conflict between the users. For now this is understandable, but if Facebook intends to grow then some form of action will have to perform sooner or later.
Facebook’s main goal has always been to create a reason for their users to keep coming back and we as users seem to have very little option now that two giants have joined forces. But what always made us come back to WhatsApp was its slogan ‘No Ads, No Games, No Gimmicks’ but now that Facebook has acquired it we doubt whether or not that will remain so. Not to mention Facebook will now have access to all our phone numbers rather than usernames, so with Facebook now calling the shots it could mean that more private information becoming a part of Facebook’s enormous database and from our point of view that is quite wrong and worrying.
Of course you as users have the freewill to switch to other good messaging services such as Viber and Line which then risks Facebook’s massive investment going down the drain, whatever happens one thing is for certain our social lives won’t be the same in the near future.
It is quite obvious Facebook bought WhatsApp in order to stay relevant in the future, whether this yields good results for them and us is yet to be seen. Regardless of the outcome it is safe to say that the social world has drastically changed with only one deal, it will now be up to Facebook to maintain monetization of both worlds without affecting the users. “Since WhatsApp and Messenger serve such different and important uses, we will continue investing in both and making them each great products for everyone,” says Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg, but what haunts us the fact that if WhatsApp is really kept the way it’s meant to be then Facebook won’t be able to earn back its investment.