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Developer(s) WhatsApp Inc. (owned by Facebook, Inc.)
Initial release 2009 (2009)
Stable release
  • iOS:
    2.11.12 (February 23, 2015 (2015-02-23))
  • Android:
    2.11.444 (November 5, 2014 (2014-11-05))
  • BlackBerry:
    2.11.967.2 (November 20, 2014 (2014-11-20))
  • Windows Phone:
    2.11.587 (November 20, 2014 (2014-11-20))
  • Symbian:
    2.11.804 (November 20, 2014 (2014-11-20))
  • Nokia S40 devices:
Written in Erlang[1]
Operating system
Available in Multilingual
Type Instant messaging
License Proprietary
Website .com.whatsappwww
WhatsApp Inc.
Founded 2009 (2009)
Headquarters Mountain View, California, US
CEO Jan Koum
Employees 55
Parent Facebook Inc.
Website .com.whatsappwww

WhatsApp Messenger is a proprietary, cross-platform instant messaging subscription service for smartphones and selected feature phones that uses the Internet for communication. In addition to text messaging, users can send each other images, video, and audio media messages as well as their location using integrated mapping features.

WhatsApp Inc. was founded in 2009 by Brian Acton and Jan Koum, both former employees of Yahoo!.[2][3] The company is based in Mountain View, California and employs 55 people[4] It is currently in the process of takeover after Facebook announced its acquisition of WhatsApp Inc. on February 19, 2014, for US$19 billion.[4][5]

As of October 2014, WhatsApp is the most globally popular messaging app with more than 600 million active users,[6] with India alone boasting a user base of more than 70 million[7] (which is over a tenth of its global users), followed by China's WeChat (468 million active users[8]), Viber (209 million active users [9]), and Japan's LINE (170 million active users[10]).


  • History 1
  • Platform support 2
  • Technical 3
  • Security 4
  • Privacy 5
  • Criticism of business model 6
  • Acquisition by Facebook 7
  • Competition and share 8
  • See also 9
  • References 10
  • External links 11


In June 2009, Apple launched push notifications, letting developers ping users when they were not using an app. Koum updated WhatsApp so that each time the user changed their statuses, it would ping everyone in the user's network. WhatsApp 2.0 was released with a messaging component and the active users suddenly swelled to 250,000. Koum visited Brian Acton, who was still unemployed while managing the unsuccessful startup, and decided to join the company. In October Acton persuaded five ex-Yahoo friends to invest $250,000 in seed funding, and as a result was granted co-founder status and a stake. He officially joined on November 1.[11] After months at beta stage, the application eventually launched in November 2009 exclusively on the App Store for the iPhone. Koum then hired an old friend who lived in Los Angeles, Chris Peiffer, to make the BlackBerry version, which arrived two months later.[11]

WhatsApp was switched from a free to paid service to avoid growing too fast, mainly because the primary cost was sending verification texts to users. In December 2009 WhatsApp for the iPhone was updated to send photos. By early 2011, WhatsApp was in the top 20 of all apps in the U.S. App Store.[11]

The founders agreed to take $7 million from Sequoia Capital on top of their $250,000 seed funding, after months of negotiation with Sequoia partner Jim Goetz.[11]

By February 2013, WhatsApp's user base had swelled to about 200 million active users and its staff to 50. Sequoia invested another $50 million, valuing WhatsApp at $1.5 billion.[11]

In a December 2013 blog post, WhatsApp claimed that 400 million active users use the service each month.[12] As of 22 April 2014, WhatsApp had over 500 million monthly active users, 700 million photos and 100 million videos are shared each day, and the messaging system handles more than 10 billion messages each day.[13] On August 24, 2014, Jan Koum announced on his Twitter account that Whatsapp had over 600 million active users worldwide. WhatsApp added about 25 million new users every month or 833,000 active users per day.[6][14] With 65 million active users, accounting roughly about 10% of the total worldwide users, India is the largest single country in terms of number of users.[15]

Platform support

After months at beta stage, the application eventually launched in November 2009 exclusively on the App Store for the iPhone. In January 2010, support for BlackBerry smartphones was added, and subsequently Symbian in May 2010 and Android in August 2010. In August 2011 a beta for some Nokia Series 40 was added, being the first non-smartphone OS with official WhatsApp support. A month later support for Windows Phone was added, and then BlackBerry 10 in March 2013.[16]

The oldest device currently capable of running WhatsApp officially is the Symbian-based Nokia N95 released in March 2007.

In 2014, WhatsApp has released an update to its Android app, adding support for Android Wear smartwatches.[17]


WhatsApp uses a customized version of the open standard Jabber ID: [phone number]

WhatsApp software automatically compares all the phone numbers from the device's address book with its central database of WhatsApp users to automatically add contacts to the user's WhatsApp contact list. Previously the Android and S40 versions used an MD5-hashed, reversed-version of the phone's IMEI as password,[19] while the iOS version used the phone's Wi-Fi MAC address instead of IMEI.[20][21] A 2012 update now generates a random password on the server side.[22]

WhatsApp is supported on most Android, BlackBerry, iPhone, and Nokia smartphones. All Android phones running the Android 2.1 and above, all BlackBerry devices running OS 4.7 and later, including BlackBerry 10, and all iPhones running iOS 4.3 and later. However, some Dual SIM devices may not be compatible with WhatsApp, though there are some workarounds for this.[23]

Multimedia messages are sent by uploading the image, audio or video to be sent to an HTTP server and then sending a Hyperlink to the content along with its Base64 encoded thumbnail (if applicable).[24]


In May 2011, a security hole was reported which left WhatsApp user accounts open for

  • Official website

External links

  1. ^ Ainsley O'Connell. "Inside Erlang, The Rare Programming Language Behind WhatsApp's Success". Retrieved February 21, 2014. 
  2. ^ El pais, 2012-07-09 .
  3. ^ Eric, Jackson (December 3, 2012). "Why Selling WhatsApp To Facebook Would Be The Biggest Mistake of Jan Koum's and Brian Acton's Lives".  
  4. ^ a b c Albergotti, Reed; MacMillan, Douglas; Rusli, Evelyn M. (February 20, 2014). "Facebook's $18 Billion Deal Sets High Bar".  
  5. ^ a b c "Facebook to Acquire WhatsApp" (Press release). 19 February 2014. 
  6. ^ a b Parmy Olsen (August 25, 2014). "WhatsApp Hits 600 Million Active Users, Founder Says". Forbes. Retrieved October 2, 2014. 
  7. ^  
  8. ^ Steven Millward (12 November 2014). "WeChat growth slows right down as it reaches 468 million monthly active users". Tech in Asia. Retrieved 12 November 2014. 
  9. ^ Corbin, David (5 November 2014). "Surprise! Viber surpasses Line in monthly active users". 
  10. ^ Horwitz, Josh (9 October 2014). "Line finally reveals it has 170 million monthly active users". 
  11. ^ a b c d e "Exclusive: The Rags-To-Riches Tale Of How Jan Koum Built WhatsApp Into Facebook's New $19 Billion Baby". Forbes. February 19, 2014. Retrieved February 21, 2014. 
  12. ^ Jan Koum (19 December 2013). "400 Million Stories". WhatsApp Blog. WhatsApp. Retrieved 17 January 2014. 
  13. ^ Amit Chowdhry, "WhatsApp Hits 500 Million Users",  
  14. ^ Christian de Looper (September 6, 2014). "WhatsApp to reach 3 billion users, Zuckerberg to invest billions". Daily Digest News. Retrieved September 7, 2014. 
  15. ^ Jayadevan PK (October 3, 2014). "Google planning to launch own mobile messaging app similar to WhatsApp". The Economic Times. Retrieved October 3, 2014. 
  16. ^ WhatsApp Messenger for Blackberry 10 now available
  17. ^ update adds support for Android Wear smartwatches
  18. ^ Shakal (March 22, 2011). "WhatsApp? Nicht ohne Risiken" [WhatsApp? Not without risks] ( .
  19. ^ Team Venomous (venomous0x). "Interface to WhatsApp Messenger" (blog).  
  20. ^ Amodio, Ezio (September 11, 2012). "Whatsapp – iOS password generation".  
  21. ^ Granger, Sam (September 5, 2012). "WhatsApp is using IMEI numbers as passwords". Retrieved January 29, 2013. 
  22. ^ "Wassapp login issues" (blog). Lowlevel Studios. December 11, 2012. Retrieved January 29, 2013. Wassapp is a PC application developed to be a non-official client for WhatsApp Messenger 
  23. ^ Emenike, Kelechi (September 16, 2013). "Download WhatsApp on non-compatible Dual-SIM Phones" (blog). NG: ECHO. Retrieved September 29, 2013. 
  24. ^ Team Venomous (venomous0x) (November 28, 2012) [May 29, 2012]. "WhatsAPI /" (blog).  
  25. ^ McCarty, Brad (May 23, 2011). "Signup goof leaves WhatsApp users open to account hijacking".  
  26. ^ Brookehoven, Corey (May 19, 2011). "Whatsapp leaks usernames, telephone numbers and messages". Your daily Mac. Archived from the original on May 23, 2011. Retrieved July 18, 2011. 
  27. ^ Kurtz, Andreas (September 8, 2011). "Shooting the Messenger". Retrieved September 11, 2011. 
  28. ^ Schellevis, Joost (January 12, 2012). "What’s app status: van Anderen os nog steeds te wijzigen" (in Dutch). Tweakers. Retrieved January 12, 2012. 
  29. ^ rvdm (January 12, 2012). "How What’s app net works". Wire trip. Retrieved April 7, 2013. 
  30. ^ Reventós, Laia (July 3, 2012). "Dentro de WhatsApp" [Inside What’s app]. El Pais (in Spanish) (Madrid). Retrieved January 26, 2013. 
  31. ^ "Whatsapp ya cifra los mensajes" [What’s app already encrypts messages]. Mi equipo está loco (in Castilan).  
  32. ^ BB, David (May 8, 2012). "Twitter" (status). Retrieved May 31, 2012. 
  33. ^ Sp0rk bomb (May 10, 2012). "Twitter". Retrieved May 31, 2012. 
  34. ^ "WhatsApp is broken, really broken". File perms. September 12, 2012. Retrieved February 8, 2013. 
  35. ^ djwm (May 13, 2012). "Sniffer tool displays other people's WhatsApp messages". H (online ed.).  
  36. ^ "Are my messages secure?". WhatsApp (FAQ).  
  37. ^ fab (September 14, 2012). "WhatsApp accounts almost completely unprotected". The H (online ed.).  
  38. ^ crve (September 25, 2012). "WhatsApp threatens legal action against API developers". The H (online ed.).  
  39. ^ wnstnsmth (September 30, 2012). "WhatsAPI sources back online". The H (online ed.).  
  40. ^ Jon Evans (2014-11-18). "WhatsApp Partners With Open WhisperSystems To End-To-End Encrypt Billions Of Messages A Day". TechCrunch. Retrieved 2014-11-19. 
  41. ^ "Blog >> Open Whisper Systems partners with WhatsApp to provide end-to-end encryption". Whisper Systems. November 18, 2014. Retrieved November 18, 2014. 
  42. ^ "Facebook’s messaging service WhatsApp gets a security boost".  
  43. ^ Wisniewski, Chester (January 29, 2013). "WhatsApp's privacy investigated by joint Canadian-Dutch probe". Naked security ( 
  44. ^ "Investigation into the personal information handling practices of WhatsApp Inc.". Findings under the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA). Report of Findings.  
  45. ^ gh, h (January 28, 2013). "WhatsApp could face prosecution on poor privacy".  
  46. ^ "CITC warns Skype, Viber, WhatsApp". Saudi Gazette (Jeddah). March 31, 2013. 
  47. ^ "Whatsapp now lets you disable Read notifications". 15 November 2014. 
  48. ^ ULD empfiehlt nach dem WhatsApp-Facebook-Deal: „Wechseln“ (german)
  49. ^ a b  
  50. ^ "WhatsApp Was Valued At ~$1.5B In Final Round Before Sale". Techcrunch. Retrieved 2014-02-22. 
  51. ^ "WhatsApp's Founder Goes From Food Stamps to Billionaire". Bloomberg News. Retrieved 2014-02-20. 
  52. ^ Dassanayake, Dion. "Twitter outrage as users claim WhatsApp has gone down days after Facebook purchase". Retrieved 22 February 2014. 
  53. ^ "Twitter: WhatsApp Status". Retrieved 22 February 2014. 
  54. ^ "Telegram saw 8m downloads after whatsapp got acquired Status". Retrieved 27 February 2014. 
  55. ^ "Line saw 2m new users after the outage of Whatsapp". Retrieved 27 February 2014. 
  56. ^ a b Lunden, Ingrid (February 24, 2014). "WhatsApp Is Actually Worth More Than $19B, Says Facebook’s Zuckerberg, And It Was That Sealed The Deal".  
  57. ^ Fitzsimmons, Michelle (February 24, 2014). "Mark Zuckerberg: WhatsApp is worth more than $19 billion".  
  58. ^ "'"President Hassan Rouhani issued order to 'hold WhatsApp service filteration. BBC Persian. Retrieved 27 May 2014. 
  59. ^ Daftari, Lisa (4 May 2014). "Iran bans WhatsApp because of link to 'American Zionist' Mark Zuckerberg". Fox News. Retrieved 13 May 2014. 
  60. ^ WhatsApp permitirá llamadas de voz, February 24, 2014, retrieved July 2, 2014 
  61. ^ Olanof, Drew (August 23, 2012). "WhatsApp hits new record with 10 billion total messages in one day".  
  62. ^ Sushma, Parab (April 4, 2012). "WhatsApp founder to operators: ‘We're no SMS-killer, we get people hooked on data’".  
  63. ^ Olanoff, Drew (October 31, 2011). "WhatsApp users now send over one billion messages a day". TheNextWeb. Retrieved January 29, 2013. 
  64. ^ WhatsApp, 27 Billion msgs handled in just 24 hours! (µblog), Tweeter, New daily record: 10B+ msgs sent (inbound) and 17B+ msgs received (outbound) by our users 
  65. ^ Bradshaw, Tim (November 14, 2011). "WhatsApp users get the message". The Financial Times (London). Retrieved January 29, 2013. 
  66. ^ WhatsApp crossed half-a-billion user mark
  67. ^ Rajat Agrawal. "WhatsApp crosses 50 million monthly active users in India, ties up with Airtel for special data plans". Retrieved 11 May 2014. 
  68. ^ PTI News. "WhatsApp user-base crosses 70 million in India". Retrieved 3 Nov 2014. 


See also

As of October 2014, Whatsapp has crossed 70 million monthly active users in India, which is 10% of its total user base (700 MM).[69]

As of May 2014, Whatsapp had crossed 50 million monthly active users in India, which is also its largest country by the number of monthly active users.[68]

In April 2014, WhatsApp crossed half-a-billion user mark.[67]

Competing with a number of Asian-based messaging services (like WeChat, LINE, and Viber), WhatsApp handled ten billion messages per day in August 2012,[62] growing from two billion in April 2012,[63] and one billion the previous October.[64] On June 13, 2013, WhatsApp announced that they had reached their new daily record by processing 27 billion messages.[65] According to the Financial Times, WhatsApp "has done to SMS on mobile phones what Skype did to international calling on landlines."[66]

Competition and share

Just three days after announcing that WhatsApp had been purchased by Facebook, Koum said they were working to introduce voice calls in the coming months. He also advanced that new mobile phones would be sold in Germany with the WhatsApp brand, as their main goal was to be in all smartphones.[61]

On May 9, 2014, the government of Iran announced that it had proposed to block the access to WhatsApp service to Iranian residents. "The reason for this is the assumption of WhatsApp by the Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, who is an American Zionist," said Abdolsamad Khorramabadi, head of the country's Committee on Internet Crimes. Subsequently Iranian president Hassan Rouhani issued an order to the Ministry of ICT to stop filtering WhatsApp.[59][60]

At a keynote presentation at the [57]

The acquisition caused a considerable number of users to move, or try out other message services as well. Telegram claimed to have seen 8 million additional downloads of its app.[55] Line claimed to have seen 2 million new users for its service.[56] Also many other messenger apps & services saw a growth of users such as TextSecure, Blackberry Messenger and Viber.

On February 19, 2014, months after a venture capital financing round at a $1.5 billion valuation,[51] Jan Koum, Brian Acton.[52] Employee stock was scheduled to vest over four years subsequent to closing.[5] The transaction was the largest purchase of a company backed by venture capitalists to date.[4] Days after the announcement, WhatsApp users experienced a loss of service, leading to anger across social media.[53][54]

Acquisition by Facebook

In many markets outside the United States, WhatsApp is much more viable due to the existence of daily SMS fees or per-SMS fees, which make texting much more costly.

In response to the Facebook acquisition, Slate columnist Matthew Yglesias questioned whether the company's business model was viable in the United States in the long term. It had prospered by exploiting a "loophole" in mobile phone carriers' pricing. "Mobile phone operators aren't really selling consumers some voice service, some data service, and some SMS service", he explained. "They are selling access to the network. The different pricing schemes they come up with are just different ways of trying to maximize the value they extract from consumers."[50] As part of that, they sold SMS separately. That made it easy for WhatsApp to find a way to replicate SMS using data, and then sell that to mobile customers for $1 a year. "But if WhatsApp gets big enough, then carrier strategy is going to change", he predicted. "You stop selling separate SMS plans and just have a take-it-or-leave-it overall package. And then suddenly WhatsApp isn't doing anything."[50] However, the WhatsApp service would still provide value, if domestic texts were free, as users can still send free international texts, and Whatsapp also allows users to send their locations, audio/video files, and contacts.

Criticism of business model

The public authority for data privacy of the German state of Schleswig-Holstein has advised against using WhatsApp, as the service lacks privacy protection such as end-to-end client side encryption technology.[49]

In November, Whatsapp introduced a new feature known as Read Receipts which alerts senders when their messages are read by recipients. Within a week, Whatsapp introduced an update allowing users to disable this feature.[48]

A user does not need to send a friend request to send messages to another user. However, users can block numbers on WhatsApp.

On March 31, 2013, the telecommunications authority in Saudi Arabia, the Communications and Information Technology Commission (CITC), issued a statement regarding possible measures against WhatsApp, among other applications, unless the service providers took serious steps to comply with monitoring and privacy regulations.[47]

A major privacy and security problem has been the subject of a joint Canadian-Dutch government investigation. The primary concern was that WhatsApp required users to upload their mobile phone's entire address book to WhatsApp servers so that WhatsApp could discover who, among the users' contacts, is available via WhatsApp. While this is a fast and convenient way to quickly find and connect the user with contacts who are also using WhatsApp, it means that their address book was then mirrored on the WhatsApp servers, including contact information for contacts who are not using WhatsApp. This information was stored in hashed, though not salted form and without "additional" identifying information such as a name, although the stored identifying information is sufficient to identify every contact.[43][44][45][46]


On November 18, 2014, Open Whisper Systems announced a partnership with WhatsApp to provide end-to-end encryption by incorporating the TextSecure protocol.[40] As of 21 November 2014, only the latest version for Android is alleged to include the encryption, and only for text messaging, excluding group chats, and media.[41] WhatsApp confirmed the partnership to reporters, but there was no announcement or documentation about the encryption feature on the official website, and further requests for comment were declined.[42]

German Tech site The H demonstrated how to use WhatsAPI to hijack any WhatsApp account on September 14, 2012.[37] Shortly after, a legal threat to WhatsAPI's developers was alleged, characterized by The H as "an apparent reaction" to security reports, and WhatsAPI's source code was taken down for some days.[38] The WhatsAPI team has since returned to active development.[39]

In May 2012, security researchers noticed that new updates of WhatsApp no longer sent messages as plaintext,[31][32][33] but the cryptographic method implemented was subsequently described as "broken".[34][35] As of August 15, 2012, the WhatsApp support staff claim messages are encrypted in the "latest version" of the WhatsApp software for iOS and Android (but not BlackBerry, Windows Phone, and Symbian), without specifying the implemented cryptographic method.[36]

On January 13, 2012, WhatsApp was removed from the iOS App Store, and the reason was not disclosed; however, the app was added back to the App Store four days later. WhatsApp was removed from Windows Phone store because of some technical problems, The app was added back to the Store on May 30, 2014.[30]

On January 6, 2012, an unknown hacker published a website ( that made it possible to change the status of an arbitrary WhatsApp user, as long as the phone number was known. To make it work, it only required a restart of the app. According to the hacker, it is only one of the many security problems in WhatsApp. On January 9, WhatsApp reported that it had resolved the problem, although the only measure actually taken was to block the website's IP address. As a reaction, a Windows tool was made available for download providing the same functionality. This problem has since been resolved in the form of an IP address check on currently logged-in sessions.[28][29]


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