“The most important thing to understand about WhatsApp is just how terrifying it is to a company like Facebook. It can compete with Facebook on its most valuable turf — users’ smartphones and text conversations — without exhibiting aggressive business ambition.”
Facebook will acquire WhatsApp for over $16 billion, according to the company. This is an objectively enormous amount of money, and far more than Facebook offered for Snapchat. But WhatsApp is — or was — arguably the largest known threat to Facebook. It was one of the only services that could plausibly claim to be cannibalizing Facebook on a large scale, and one of a small few that pose to it an existential threat.
In case you’ve been living under a rock, Snapchat is a photo and video-messaging app for iOS and Android. It was launched in September 2011 and since then users have been sending 350 million pictures or videos to their friends everyday. The big difference to the usual messaging apps is that these messages self-destruct after 10 seconds. It is for this reason that the app has become extremely popular among teenagers – and also notorious for sexting, almost half of all users have received some kind of naked photo or video. This slightly risqué reputation is also the reason why brands have been slow on the uptake to use it.
The app has recently introduced a new feature called Stories. This lets users take videos and pictures that can be viewed and shared for up to 24 hours. This has allowed brands to invest more time into the platform as it can be used more to their advantage, it’s still a very new platform but a few have been cautiously incorporating it into their day-to-day strategies.