Neeraj Arora was the Chief Business Officer of WhatsApp.
Among the much-talked-about deal in the technology world is Meta’s (then Facebook) acquisition of instant messaging platform WhatsApp. The $22 billion deal shook the technological landscape and changed the way the world communicates.
After Facebook completed the acquisition of the instant messaging platform, it started changing the direction WhatsApp was intended to take, according to its founders.
Neeraj Arora, who was the Chief Business Officer of WhatsApp in 2014 when the deal was struck, has written a long post on LinkedIn and other social media platforms in which he has explained what went wrong. “Today, I regret it.”
Read Neeraj Arora’s LinkedIn post:
According to Mr Arora, Mark Zuckerberg-led Facebook first approached with an offer to WhatsApp in 2012. “We declined and decided to keep growing instead,” he said in Wednesday’s post.
Mr Arora said that Facebook approached them again in 2014 “an offer that made it look like a partnership”. The social media giant offered:
- Full support for end-to-end encryption
- No ads (ever)
- Complete independence on product decisions
- Board seat for Jan Koum (co-founder and former CEO)
- Our own office in Mountain View
He further claimed that Facebook even agreed with and expressed complete commitment to WhatsApp’s mission: No mining user data, no ads (ever) and no cross-platform tracking.
But that’s not what happened, said Mr Arora, adding that by 2017 and 2018, “things started to look very different”. He also talked about the 2018 tweet of WhatsApp co-founder Brian Acton in which he said: “It is time. #deletefacebook.”
“Today, WhatsApp is Facebook’s second largest platform (even bigger than Instagram or FB Messenger). But it’s a shadow of the product we poured our hearts into, and wanted to build for the world. And I am not the only one who regrets that it became part of Facebook when it did,” said Mr Arora, who later co-founded HalloApp.
“Tech companies need to admit when they have done wrong,” he added.
WhatsApp was founded by Brian Actor and Jan Koum in 2009.
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