When Facebook bought Whatsapp for a whopping $19 billion, there was plenty of hand-wringing over how the Silicon Valley giant would mine the data of Whatsapp’s 450 million monthly active users for advertising. But in a new blog post, Whatsapp’s co-founder Jan Koum is setting the record straight.
In his post, Koum pledges to users that Whatsapp will keep their data safe, and despite the Facebook acquisition, the company has no plans to intrude upon privacy.
From the post:
Respect for your privacy is coded into our DNA, and we built WhatsApp around the goal of knowing as little about you as possible: You don’t have to give us your name and we don’t ask for your email address. We don’t know your birthday. We don’t know your home address. We don’t know where you work. We don’t know your likes, what you search for on the internet or collect your GPS location. None of that data has ever been collected and stored by WhatsApp, and we really have no plans to change that.
So I guess there’s that. But it’s hard to imagine a huge data mining operation like Facebook won’t find a way to somehow leverage Whatsapp’s huge database for advertising dollars. It could stick to making money purely off subscriptions. But user data, especially for mobile is simply too valuable a resource for Facebook to let go. We’ll believe Koum and co. for now, but who know how long it’ll last.