WhatsApp is the second Facebook-owned service to reach the 2 billion user milestone. Facebook passed 2 billion monthly users in 2017, but its growth has since slowed amid privacy scandals and increasing scrutiny from officials around the world. Recently, the company has instead emphasized metrics for its “family of apps,” which includes Facebook, WhatsApp, Messenger, and Instagram.
But WhatsApp’s growth has remained strong even as Facebook’s has slowed. The messaging app is the main texting app used in much of the world, and the app is consistently among the most-downloaded.
The app’s founders, Jan Koum and Brian Acton, departed Facebook nearly two years ago amid reports the privacy conscious executives had clashed with Facebook leadership over proposed plans to bring advertising to WhatsApp. Acton famously called himself a “sellout” and tweeted #deleteFacebook. (The Wall Street Journal reported last month that Facebook was “backing away” from its plans to bring advertising to the messaging app.)
In a statement marking its 2 billion-user milestone, Facebook emphasized WhatsApp’s use of encryption.
“Strong encryption is a necessity in modern life,” the company wrote. “We will not compromise on security because that would make people less safe.”