Facebook-owned messaging app WhatsApp has now reached a new milestone in its 11-year history. They have announced that they now have more than two billion users around the world. One of the reasons why it’s popular is because of its end-to-end encryption, providing privacy and security to its billions of users. And despite pressure from sectors like governments to provide backdoor access for law enforcement, they are adamant that messages on the platform will remain encrypted.
WhatsApp first reached 1 billion users back in 2016 and then 1.5 billion in 2018. Two years later, they’ve added more than half a billion users. This milestone is pretty good and makes them still the top messaging app in terms of registered users. Their “sister” app Facebook Messenger is a close second with almost 1.5 billion while the others like WeChat, Snapchat, Viber, etc re all far away at below 1 billion.
With this achievement announcement, they also wanted to reiterate their commitment to bringing messages with end-to-end encryption. This means all of your messages are kept only on your phone and not saved on any server. Only you and the recipient will be able to see them and not even WhatsApp itself will be able to view this. It may seem like a not-so-important thing to have but in this day and age, it’s pretty good to have that kind of privacy.
Various governments around the world have been pressuring WhatsApp and other encrypted messaging apps to have a sort of backdoor for law enforcement. They are saying that when no one is able to read these messages, it can be used to facilitate terrorism, child exploitation, and other crimes that can be hidden within the platform. But WhatsApp CEO Will Cathcart has promised they will not disable encryption but when needed for an investigation, they can provide metadata.
WhatsApp promised to work with top security experts and use industry leading technology to provide more protection and to stop misuse and provide controls without having to sacrifice privacy. Let’s see what else they will have up their sleeves for the rest of 2020.