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Former WhatsApp CBO expresses regret over facebook’s acquisition of app in 2014

Neeraj Arora, the former Chief Business Officer of WhatsApp, took to Twitter to share his feelings on Facebook’s acquisition of the company. Facebook (now Meta) purchased the instant messaging application in 2014. The platform has been sold for $22 billion. However, Arora expresses regret for his role in the sale to Facebook.

Arora discusses how he became the Chief Business Officer of WhatsApp in 2011 in a series of Tweets. In the following two years, Facebook approached WhatsApp several times with the evident purpose of acquiring the platform. Initially, the WhatsApp team rejected the offer, but Zuckerberg countered with a convincing offer in which he matched Facebook’s acquisition motivations with the WhatsApp board’s ideology.

In its conditions of purchase in 2014, Facebook stated that it would guarantee complete support for end-to-end encryption, never broadcast adverts on the network, and provide a board seat to Jan Koum, one of WhatsApp’s co-founders. Following that, Arora posts an image of a sheet of paper with the words ‘No Ads! No Games! No Gimmicks!’ scrawled on it, illustrating how WhatsApp was designed to work. During the purchase, WhatsApp defended these beliefs.

WhatsApp made three requests to Facebook, according to Arora, in a tweet: Facebook, as WhatsApp’s parent company, would never harvest user data, never serve advertising on the platform, and never undertake cross-platform monitoring. While Facebook agreed to these criteria at the outset, and the transaction was completed for a staggering $22 billion, the 2018 Facebook/Cambridge Analytica scandal shattered the truth wall.

Expressing his regret, Arora said, ‘nobody knew in the beginning that Facebook would become a Frankenstein monster that devoured user data and spat out dirty money’. Arora also mentions that he is not the only one who regrets the acquisition, adding that ‘in order for the tech ecosystem to evolve, we need to talk about how perverse business models cause well-intentioned products, services and ideas to go wrong’.


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