comscore What former WhatsApp CBO Neeraj Arora has to say on being acquired by Facebook

Nobody knew Facebook would become a Frankenstein monster, says former WhatsApp CBO Neeraj Arora

Former WhatsApp CBO Neeraj Arore says that WhatsApp is Facebook’s second largest platform (even bigger than Instagram or FB Messenger). However, it’s a shadow of the product that its team started out to build.


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Facebook (now Meta) acquired WhatsApp back in 2014 for a whopping $19 billion, in what can easily be described as the acquisition of the century. However, the acquisition talks between the two companies began much earlier around 2012. At the time, WhatsApp founders Jan Koum and Brian Acton had declined Mark Zuckerberg’s offer. However, in 2014, he made an offer that the WhatsApp founders couldn’t refuse – full support for end-to-end encryption, no ads (ever), and complete independence in product decisions among other things. Now, roughly eight years after the acquisition happened, former WhatsApp Chief Business Officer Neeraj Arora in a Twitter thread has revealed what went down during Facebook’s acquisition of WhatsApp and why regrets the decision. Also Read - How to convert your photo into a WhatsApp sticker: A step-by-step guide

Arora noted that one of the USPs of WhatsApp in its early days was ‘international communication’. Simply said, it made it easy for people in opposite corners of the globe to connect with their friends and family without paying long-distance SMS or calling fees. At the time, the app made money by charging users $1 to download the app. “And Facebook (said they) supported our mission & vision,” he wrote in a post. Also Read - WhatsApp scam: This scam lets hackers to hijack your account using a phone call

“As we began talking through the acquisition, and made our stance very clear: – No mining user data – No ads (ever) – No cross-platform tracking FB and their management agreed and we thought they believed in our mission,” he added.

All was good in the following years. However, things started to look quite different by 2017 and 2018. Internally, Facebook tried to push for monetising the platform. Acton, at the time, suggested alternatives that would help Facebook make money without compromising on the values on which the app was built on. However, these suggestions couldn’t help the messaging app earn money at the pace Zuckerberg and Facebook wanted to.

The tussle led to Acton leaving the company. Koum followed him shortly after. What followed Koum’s exit was a tweet from Acton that asked users to ‘Delete Facebook’. The tweet came around the same time when news of the Cambridge Analytica scandal rocked Facebook.

“Today, WhatsApp is Facebook’s second largest platform (even bigger than Instagram or FB Messenger). But it’s a shadow of the product we poured our hearts into, and wanted to build for the world. And I am not the only one who regrets that it became part of Facebook when it did,” he wrote in the Twitter thread.

“Nobody knew in the beginning that Facebook would become a Frankenstein monster that devoured user data and spat out dirty money,” Arora added in another tweet.

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  • Published Date: May 5, 2022 7:01 PM IST

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