WhatsApp hits 2B users, defends encryption features

WhatsApp hits 2 billion users, up from 1.5 billion 2 years ago

The messaging service is now only second to Facebook itself in the number of users aroud the world.

It took two years for WhatsApp to add its last 500 million users, coinciding with the time when theconversation around data privacy is getting louder by the hour. However, NITI Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant, in July 2019, announced that WhatsApp has over 400 Mn monthly active users from India.

Facebook had about 2.50 billion monthly active users as of December 31, the company said. Only its parent company, Facebook, which acquired the service in 2014, counts more users (2.5 billion) on its platform.

"WhatsApp - which has been criticised by rival Telegram for not being as secure as it claims to be - said strong encryption is a necessity in modern life".

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"Private conversations that once were only possible face-to-face can now take place across great distances through instant chats and video calling", a WhatsApp blog post said. WhatsApp's vice president of global affairs and communication Nick Clegg suggested the use of a metadata and machine intelligence that will provide basic details such as call duration among others, of "lawfully" identified the user. "We know that the more we connect, the more we have to protect", the blog post said. This means a quarter of the world now uses the messaging platform with end-to-end encryption. As we conduct more of our lives online, protecting our conversations is more important than ever. Facebook argues that encryption, which prevents anyone, including Facebook, from reading users' messages, is good for user privacy, though it also makes it harder for law enforcement to track and monitor some criminal behavior.

Along with making this huge announcement, WhatsApp has also spoken about how it will continue to keep conversations made across the service private.

The social network is working to extend end-to-end encryption across its messaging applications, including Facebook Messenger and Instagram.

Simplicity and security are the two main reasons people prefer WhatsApp over other messaging apps. WhatsApp had the largest percentage of the users followed closely by Facebook.

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