Facebook Is Wondering WhatsApp

It’s no surprise that the latest gossip on the rumor mill involves social media giants Facebook. A day certainly does not go by without the social networking site being involved in some type of news article. But this time there may be a little more substance to the column inches than gossip, as leading techy websites and online sources suggest Facebook is about to make its second big purchase this year and take over WhatsApp.

The news – or rather the whisperings – were broken yesterday by technology website, Techcrunch, whose sources close to the Zuckerberg empire are aware of talks with WhatsApp on a potential purchase. How much they are willing to pay for the extremely popular mobile messenger service, which facilitates 1 billion messages across the world a day in hundreds of languages, is however unknown. But with Facebook so keen to dominate the mobile scene, it’s very much a buyer’s market.

However, Facebook isn’t shy of sky-high price tags. Only in April this year, it bought the online photo-sharing App, Instagram, for a staggering $1 billion. Also an overnight sensation, Facebook acquired access to 100 million users and, of course, the opportunity to combine the two forums closer together. Though not too much has changed since the acquisition, yesterday also marked the beginning of Facebook’s Poll Day, where the 1 billion users from all over the world were asked to share their views on a variety of changes to the media site, including changes to Instagram. This principally revolves around the potential information share planned across the two, something which many of the instagramers won’t be too happy about.

And it’s this Facebookization that is perhaps causing a little concern around the whispered acquisition of WhatsApp, whose very essence slams the ‘online advertising’ nature that seems to be taking over social media outlets. WhatsApp was founded in 2009 by Brian Action and Jan Koum, who had worked together at Yahoo! Inc. Having seen the search engine get swallowed up by Google and the constant drive for advertising purchase, they wanted to create something that provided a cheap way to communicate, where users weren’t bombarded with advertising – and at 69p a download, it hardly breaks the bank.

But the future for WhatsApp and its integrity seems to be in Facebook’s hands. Do the founders have the passion and drive behind WhatsApp to reject the no doubt phenomenal offerings of Facebook and continue to drive their own company? Or will the giant social media fish continue to eat up the smaller ones in the bowl? Only time has the answer. 


About the author: Christian Arno

Christian Arno is founder and CEO of Lingo24, Inc. He started the company in 2001 after graduating from Oxford University with a degree in languages. He has won numerous awards including HSBC Business Thinking and International Trade Awards (2010), and TAUS Excellence Award (2012) for innovative technology. He contributes to leading industry publications and has been featured on the BBC, in the Financial Times and other media around the world. Follow Christian Arno on:

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