WhatsApp: The World’s Default Communication App

Pranav Dixit, writing for Engadget:

“WhatsApp is kind of like a media platform and kind of like a messaging platform, but it’s also not quite those things,” Surya Mattu, a researcher at Princeton who runs the university’s Digital Witness Lab, which studies how information flows through WhatsApp, told Engadget. “It has the scale of a social media platform, but it doesn’t have the traditional problems of one because there are no recommendations and no social graph.”

Indeed, WhatsApp’s scale dwarfs nearly every social network and messaging app out there. In 2020, WhatsApp announced it had more than two billion users around the world. It’s bigger than iMessage (1.3 billion users), TikTok (1 billion), Telegram (800 million), Snap (400 million) and Signal (40 million.) It stands head and shoulders above fellow Meta platform Instagram, which captures around 1.4 billion users. The only thing bigger than WhatsApp is Facebook itself, with more than three billion users .

WhatsApp has become the world’s default communications platform. Ten years after it was acquired, its growth shows no sign of stopping. Even in the US, it is finally beginning to break through the green and blue bubble battles and is reportedly one of Meta’s fastest-growing services. As Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg told the New York Times last year, WhatsApp is the “next chapter” for the company.

Anecdotally, I’m seeing more American usage of WhatsApp too. Putting aside the (deeply misguided, IMO) antitrust arguments about iMessage, Apple’s decade ago decision to eschew an iMessage client for Android might be proven to have been a mistake the old-fashioned way: through market forces.

Friday, 29 March 2024