WhatsApp reaches 500 Million users!

Whatsapp & Facebook

Popular IM service WhatsApp has reached the 500 million users milestone. And it’s not just the total number of users the service has but active users who use the service regularly.

This comes shortly after the company was acquired by Facebook, although WhatsApp had a healthy 450 million users at the time of acquisition. The majority of the growth comes from countries like Brazil, India, Mexico, and Russia, with India alone having 48 million WhatsApp users.


One of the reason the service is so popular in developing nations is sheer number of platforms the service is available on, which includes iOS, Android, Windows Phone, BlackBerry, Symbian and S40, unlike many other services that are only available on iOS and Android.

The service has remained unaltered since the Facebook acquisition and is expected to remain that way.

Facebook is buying WhatsApp for $19 billion!

Facebook has announced this afternoon that it has reached a deal to acquire WhatsApp, the makers of the popular cross-platform messaging app, for a staggering $16 billion. That’s $4 billion in cash and approximately $12 billion in Facebook shares.

The social network says that WhatsApp will continue to operate independently after the acquisition, but claims the deal with WhatsApp—who has nearly 500 million users—”accelerates Facebook’s ability to bring connectivity and utility to the world.”

From the press release:

“Facebook today announced that it has reached a definitive agreement to acquire WhatsApp, a rapidly growing cross-platform mobile messaging company, for a total of approximately $16 billion, including $4 billion in cash and approximately $12 billion worth of Facebook shares. The agreement also provides for an additional $3 billion in restricted stock units to be granted to WhatsApp’s founders and employees that will vest over four years subsequent to closing.

The acquisition supports Facebook and WhatsApp’s shared mission to bring more connectivity and utility to the world by delivering core internet services efficiently and affordably. The combination will help accelerate growth and user engagement across both companies. 

“WhatsApp is on a path to connect 1 billion people. The services that reach that milestone are all incredibly valuable,” said Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook founder and CEO. “I’ve known Jan for a long time and I’m excited to partner with him and his team to make the world more open and connected.”

The company also provided some WhatsApp growth stats:

  • Over 450 million people using the service each month;
  • 70% of those people active on a given day;
  • Messaging volume approaching the entire global telecom SMS volume; and
  • Continued strong growth, currently adding more than 1 million new registered users per day.

Additionally, Facebook says that it will be paying WhatsApp a $1 billion break-up fee if the acquisition some how falls through, and it will be hosting a conference call at 3PM PST today to discuss further details. You can listen in on that call by clicking here.

Admittedly, $16 billion (potentially $19 billion) sounds like a crazy amount for a messaging app—especially compared to the $3 billion that Facebook reportedly offered Snapchat last year. But not many services boast an active user base of half-a-billion.

It’ll be interesting to see what comes of this. If you want to see what WhatsApp is all about, you can find it in the App Store here.

Twitter integrates age-screening and removes DM system for following alcohol brands on Web, Android, and iOS

Screen Shot 2012-07-12 at 1.29.48 PM

Twitter announced that it has simplified the experience of following alcohol brands on its service, across Web, Android, and iOS apps. The improvement integrates a new age-screening experience on the social network, letting alcohol brands safely grow their of-age network of followers.

Twitter breaks down the process into three steps:

AgeGating blogimage revised Twitter integrates age screening and removes DM system for following alcohol brands on Web, Android, and iOS

Previously, when Twitter users hit the Follow button on a liquor, beer, or wine account, they would automatically receive a direct message on Twitter from the company in question, asking them to navigate to an age screening page. If the user gave an age that met the requirement of their local drinking law, he or she would be allowed to follow the alcohol brand.

As you can see in the walkthrough above, Twitter now asks you to supply your age right on the social network. The company then does the legal requirement checks based on what country you reside in.

Twitter furthermore says it will remember that your account met the age requirement (nobody is getting any younger!). Best of all, the company promises it won’t store your date of birth: just the fact that you’re legally allowed to consume alcohol.

So far, Twitter has partnered with a few brands, including Bud Light, Jim Beam, Knob Creek, Heineken, and Bacardi. The new tool should allow these companies to push ads on the social network without fear of breaking the law.

All that being said, the debate of whether age-screening actually works continues to rage. Inputting a fake age online is not the same as obtaining and presenting a fake ID.

Facebook launches redesigned Messenger app!


In line with reports from early October, Facebook has launched a redesigned Messenger app for iPhone users this afternoon. The new design matches the aesthetics of iOS 7, and looks very similar to the updated Messenger app launched for Android a few weeks ago.

In addition to the makeover, today’s update also brings about some new features. In the new app, users will be able to see which friends are using Messenger, as well as have the ability to message non-Facebook friends from within the app as long as they have their number…

Facebook described the new app update in a Newsroom post:

“As more and more people use Facebook to connect with their friends on mobile, we are focused on building the best mobile products. Facebook messaging started as a desktop chat experience, but when it comes to messaging on mobile, people want something faster and lighter weight.”

And here are a few more screenshots for good measure:


Facebook says that the new Messenger experience will be available more broadly to people using the app on both iOS and Android “starting today.” And when it hits, you’ll be able to download the latest version of Facebook Messenger for iPhone from the App Store for free.

Have you tried the new version of Facebook Messenger yet? Thoughts?