WhatsApp has passed 2 billion users, as the Facebook-owned company announced the updated first user metric in two years.
When Facebook snapped up WhatsApp back in 2014 for nearly $20 billion, WhatsApp claimed 450 million users. While that was an impressive enough number in its own right for an independent company, the messaging app has gone from strength to strength in the intervening years. Indeed, WhatsApp hit 1 billion users in early 2016 and 1.5 billion two years later, and it seemed clear that Facebook was holding off on reporting a new figure until it hit the magic 2 billion milestone.
So we now know that WhatsApp effectively garners around 500 million new users every two years. While the main Facebook app itself flew past 2 billion users way back in 2017, independent reports have abounded for a while that WhatsApp was actually being used more frequently than Facebook some months, and as some people have grown weary of sharing their whole lives with everyone on Facebook, the desire for smaller group chats and one-to-one conversations is clearly still there — and that is partly whey Mark Zuckerberg has been trying to reposition Facebook as a privacy-focused company. And that is also the trend that he saw nearly six years ago when he decided to buy WhatsApp.
For context, Facebook Messenger hit 1.3 billion users in September, 2017, while Instagram passed 1 billion users the following June. The company hasn’t provided any more updates on their respective user bases since then.
As Facebook figures out how it’s going to monetize WhatsApp’s 2 billion users, it’s still working behind the scenes to unite its various apps — including Facebook, Messenger, WhatsApp, and Instagram — under the same infrastructure. It also plans to add end-to-end encryption across the suite of apps, which WhatsApp already offers.