WhatsApp has over 2 billion users worldwide, making it one of the most popular messaging programs on the planet. WhatsApp has an unusual birth story and history that goes beyond its value for instant messaging.
In this article, we unveil 10 fascinating facts about the widely-used messaging app that might surprise you. Explore the hidden stories and interesting details behind the app you use daily.
10 Interesting Fun Facts About WhatsApp
Here are 10 fascinating facts about WhatsApp VIP accounts:
- It was first called “WhatsApp Inc.”
- Early Inspiration Came from the iPod
- First Status Was “Hey There! I Am Using WhatsApp”
- WhatsApp Was Turned Down by Facebook in 2009
- WhatsApp Was Acquired for $19 Billion in 2014
- Founders Became Billionaires Overnight
- First Non-English Market Was Russia
- WhatsApp Once Charged $1/Year
- Instagram DM Almost Replaced WhatsApp
- “Signal” Protocol Provides Encryption
It Was First Called “WhatsApp Inc.”
WhatsApp was originally incorporated in 2009 as “WhatsApp Inc.” by founders Jan Koum and Brian Acton. The “WhatsApp” name was inspired by the English phrase “What’s up?” showing its messaging focus. The company name was later shorted to just “WhatsApp”.
Early Inspiration Came from the iPod
According to Jan Koum, partial inspiration for WhatsApp came from the Apple iPod and its intuitive UI. Koum was impressed by how the iPod’s scrollable menus let users easily sift through music. This influenced WhatsApp’s minimalist design.
First Status Was “Hey There! I Am Using WhatsApp”
When WhatsApp launched in 2009, the default status preset for all users was “Hey there! I am using WhatsApp.” This allowed people to advertise this new app to friends and contacts by displaying its name prominently.
WhatsApp Was Turned Down by Facebook in 2009
Incredibly, Mark Zuckerberg rejected an offer to acquire WhatsApp back in 2009 for $850 million when the app had yet to earn revenue and was unproven. Imagine how much Facebook regrets letting WhatsApp slip away!
WhatsApp Was Acquired for $19 Billion in 2014
After Facebook passed on buying WhatsApp in 2009, the messaging app exploded in popularity. By February 2014, Facebook realized its mistake and purchased WhatsApp for the far greater sum of $19 billion in cash and stock.
Founders Became Billionaires Overnight
When the $19 billion Facebook acquisition was finalized in October 2014, WhatsApp’s founders Jan Koum and Brian Acton instantly became billionaires. Koum’s net worth grew from $6.8 billion to $7.2 billion literally overnight.
First Non-English Market Was Russia
Given its founders’ Ukrainian roots, WhatsApp’s first non-English language offering was Russian in May 2012. This surprised many as Russia only ranked 6th for global internet usage at the time. But it reflected the founders’ heritage.
WhatsApp Once Charged $1/Year
WhatsApp was not always free. For its first few years between 2009-2016, WhatsApp charged users a minimal yearly subscription fee of $1 (after an initial free trial period). The app transitioned to a totally free model in January 2016.
Instagram DM Almost Replaced WhatsApp
Around 2017-2018, Facebook considered shutting down WhatsApp and directing users to use Instagram Direct Messaging instead simply. But they ultimately decided to preserve WhatsApp as a separate service.
“Signal” Protocol Provides Encryption
WhatsApp’s secure end-to-end encryption is powered by the open-source “Signal Protocol” developed by the nonprofit Signal Foundation. This protocol ensures messages cannot be intercepted and read by third parties.
From its clever name origin to nearly being discontinued, WhatsApp has an eventful history behind its ascent as one of the top messaging platforms worldwide. These fun facts provide insight into how a startup app evolved into a global communication phenomenon.
Who are WhatsApp’s current founders and owners?
WhatsApp is currently owned by Facebook’s parent company Meta Platforms Inc. It continues to be run by original co-founder Jan Koum as CEO and fellow co-founder Brian Acton as Chairman of the Board.
How was the WhatsApp name and logo created?
The WhatsApp name playing off “What’s up?” came first. The iconic logo was designed to show chat communication. The chat bubble shape represents a speech bubble from a comic. The color green was chosen because it signified optimism and fresh beginnings.
Is WhatsApp currently profitable and making money?
Yes. While WhatsApp was initially free, it now earns profits through optional business features like WhatsApp Business for customer service. Meta also monetizes WhatsApp user data for targeted ads on its other platforms.
How many engineers and developers work at WhatsApp?
According to the igeek bloggers site information & stats, Given the app’s vast scale, WhatsApp employs over 1200 engineers and developers worldwide working to improve security, reliability, performance, and new features. Hundreds more work in support, design and business roles.
Which messaging app does WhatsApp view as its biggest competitor?
While it competes with other popular apps like Telegram, Signal, and Line, WhatsApp likely sees Apple’s iMessage as its toughest rival. iMessage comes pre-installed on iPhones, creating a strong network effect WhatsApp has to overcome.