Former Chief Business Officer Neeraj Arora of instant messaging application WhatsApp stated that the app today is only a shadow of the product the erstwhile employees worked on. Things dramatically changed, according to Arora once Facebook took over.
Arora joined the WhatsApp team in 2011, a couple of years after it was founded by Jan Koum and Brian Acton. In 2012-13, Facebook approached the team about an acquisition. While the group declined the offer, they were approached for a second time by Facebook in 2014 with the promise of support for end-to-end encryption, no advertisements, complete independence on product decisions and other incentives.
In a series of tweets, Arora bemoaned how the promises were never really kept up. “If you used WhatsApp in early days, you remember what made the product special: International communication. For people (like myself) with family in multiple countries, WhatsApp was a way to stay connected—without paying long-distance SMS or calling fees,” he said.
In 2014, WhatsApp was acquired by Facebook for $22 billion. As per Arora’s statements, things started to take a turn for the worse in 2017. Eventually, in 2018, right as details of the Facebook/Cambridge Analytica scandal came out, Brian Acton sent a tweet that sent shockwaves through the social media stratosphere.
Acton’s tweet read, “It is time. Delete 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,” said Arora.
Neeraj said that nobody was aware that Facebook would become a Frankenstein monster that devoured user data and spat out dirty money.
The full thread on Twitter can be accessed here.