I’m actually surprised it took them this long.
In February of 2014, Facebook bought WhatsApp for a staggering sum of $19 Billion. Why would Facebook spend that much money on a messenger, that wasn’t exactly making money, when they already had Facebook Messenger? Well, the answer was quite obvious to most of us. They weren’t buying the service, they were buying user information.
Of course, WhatsApp ran to assuage users fears. They immediately published to their blog a promise. The promise was to protect users privacy, and not to collect or share data with Facebook.
“Respect for your privacy is coded into our DNA, and we built WhatsApp around the goal of knowing as little about you as possible,” they stated. They even went further than that, “If partnering with Facebook meant that we had to change our values, we wouldn’t have done it. Instead, we are forming a partnership that would allow us to continue operating independently and autonomously. Our fundamental values and beliefs will not change. Our principles will not change. Everything that has made WhatsApp the leader in personal messaging will still be in place. Speculation to the contrary isn’t just baseless and unfounded, it’s irresponsible. It has the effect of scaring people into thinking we’re suddenly collecting all kinds of new data. That’s just not true, and it’s important to us that you know that.”
Well, that didn’t last long. In fact, it lasted about 18 months.
Apparently it’s been quiet enough that Facebook feels it’s time to move forward on their little combining of the two services. Now, some users are discovering a new button within the Facebook Android app, this button is a WhatsApp button. It appears that this is a limited test, as nothing has been announced by Facebook. But we can assume a more universal rollout will occur sooner than later.
I can understand Facebook wanting to get the most out of it’s WhatsApp purchase. I can also understand users being concerned about their information from WhatsApp being shared to Facebook and vice versa. What I find inexcusable is the story told by the companies during the purchase when we all knew what the end result would be.