Photo Sharing Plays a Big Part in Facebook’s Acquisition of WhatsApp

1 min read
February 20, 2014

If you thought that Viber’s acquisition by Rakuten last week was a major news in the mobile industry, today’s $19 billion Facebook acquisition of WhatsApp would be a massive earthquake sending shockwaves across the entire planet. With Instagram and now WhatsApp under its ownership, Facebook becomes an even larger photo-sharing entity on the planet.

Photos? Yes. WhatsApp is among the largest text messaging service on the planet with 450 million users, 70 percent of whom are active on a monthly basis delivering 53 billion messages each day (19 billion sent, 34 billion received), but even in terms of photos, it is several orders of magnitude larger than Instagram.

As Sarah Lacy noted on Pando Daily, WhatsApp sees 500 million images exchanged among its users every day according to a Forbes article in December 2013. That number has risen to over 600 million per day as per Facebook’s own press conference this morning, provided on the slide below. Comparatively, Snapchat does 400 million images per day while Facebook itself handles 350 million images and Instagram at 55 million images per day.

Mark Zuckerberg knows that people are suckers for photo sharing platforms. He saw how photo usage exploded in his own service, he saw the growth of Instagram in its first couple of years, and he saw the value of Snapchat, so much so that he made an offer to acquire Snapchat for $3 billion in 2013. Facebook reportedly wanted to buy WhatsApp in 2012 but that didn’t happen. Sure, WhatsApp is a messaging service but people share photos on the service as well, and, as per today’s announcement, in massive numbers.

facebook-whatsapp numbers

[header image from Shutterstock]

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