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WhatsApp Has 2 Bln Users Today

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WhatsApp now has 2 billion users around the world, up from 1.5 billion users in early 2018. The milestone comes in the same month that Facebook, Whatsapp's parent company, turned 16.

WhatsApp Messenger is a cross-platform messaging and Voice over IP or VoIP service founded in 2009. The company was acquired by social media giant Facebook in 2014 for about $19 billion.

WhatsApp enables users to send text messages and voice messages, make voice and video calls, and share images, documents, user locations as well as other media.

In January 2018, Facebook introduced the WhatsApp app for businesses.

To protect conversations, every private message sent using WhatsApp is secured with end-to-end encryption by default.

End-to-end encryption allows messages to be decrypted only by end users. As a result, service providers are unable to produce readable content in response to wiretap orders and search warrants.

However, the end-to-end encryption technology has come under scrutiny from governments around the world due to security reasons. End-to-end encryption hinders law enforcement from gaining access to crucial electronic evidence, thereby enabling criminals to avoid apprehension.

In March 2019, Facebook said it would increasingly shift its focus away from public posts to encrypted, ephemeral communications on its trio of messaging apps - WhatsApp, Instagram and Messenger. The move was part of the company's more privacy-focused approach.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has said he expects future versions of Messenger and WhatsApp to become the main way for people to communicate on the Facebook network. Facebook is focused on making both of these apps faster, simpler, more private and more secure, including with end-to-end encryption.

But in October 2019, the U.S., UK and Australia jointly urged Facebook to delay its plan to implement end-to-end-encryption across its messaging services unless it can ensure there is no reduction to user safety.

The three countries also said Facebook must ensure that government officials can access the content of private communications if required.

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