The deal gives Facebook access to the 450 million people who use WhatsApp’s service every month, effectively turning one of its biggest potential threats into a valuable ally.
It will also help Facebook cement its position at the heart of users’ lives, and will reinforce its standing with younger users, who have been drifting away from the social network in favour of WhatsApp and other instant messaging services.
Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook’s founder and chief executive, said the two companies would work together “to make the world more open and connected”. “WhatsApp is on a path to connect 1bn people. The services that reach that milestone are all incredibly valuable.”
Jan Koum, the Ukranian chief executive and co-founder of WhatsApp, added that he was “excited and honoured” to be joining Facebook. “WhatsApp’s extremely high user engagement and rapid growth are driven by the simple, powerful and instantaneous messaging capabilities we provide.”