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Who owns WhatsApp?

WhatsApp is one of the biggest apps in the world, but who actually owns it?

Image: KnowTechie

Quick Answer: Facebook (now Meta) owns WhatsApp. The company bought WhatsApp for nearly $22 billion in 2014, making it the largest venture-backed company in history.

With more than 5 billion downloads and counting, WhatsApp is undoubtedly one of the most downloaded apps of all time. Of this number, more than 2 billion active users use the app at least once a month.

WhatsApp is also popular among businesses, as WhatsApp Business has been downloaded more than 500 million times.

Although WhatsApp knows every one of its billions of users, at least by phone number, not all of its users know who owns WhatsApp.

So, who owns WhatsApp now?

Short answer: Facebook (now known as Meta)

WhatsApp was founded by the duo of Jan Koum and Brian Acton on February 24, 2009. However, it was not the free cross-platform instant messenger and VOIP service it has now morphed into.

It was initially designed as an app to let you know what’s up with your contacts by showing their current status, like where they are, what they’re doing, etc.

With time, chance, and the arrival of push notifications, it gradually transformed into what it is today.

Whatsapp communties showing different groups
Image: KnowTechie

Seeing its brilliant performance and widespread adoption, Facebook (now Meta) offered to buy WhatsApp for almost $22 billion in 2014, its largest acquisition and the largest venture-backed company in history.

READ MORE: What do the checkmarks mean on WhatsApp?

Two years prior, in 2012, Facebook also bought Instagram for $1 billion from founders Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger.

Whatsapp dark mode
Image: WhatsApp

Since 2019, Will Cathcart has piloted the affairs of WhatsApp as CEO and brought about many improvements and updates to the messaging platform.

For instance, users can now undelete chat messages, download and use WhatsApp for Windows, move chat history from Android to iPhone, block other users, create groups of 512 people, build their own Communities, among several others.

And what’s Meta?

Short answer: The parent company of Facebook and WhatsApp

Meta Platforms’ name points towards the word Metaverse, a combination of meta and universe.

Mark zuckerberg metaverse globe
Image: KnowTechie

It represents Mark Zuckerberg’s dream of using virtual and augmented reality to drive social connections. The Menlo Park conglomerate describes itself as a social technology company.

To date, Meta, which also owns Instagram, has acquired more than 90 companies, including startups and potential competitors, with WhatsApp as its largest acquisition yet.

FAQs (frequently asked questions)

What is the history of WhatsApp’s ownership?

WhatsApp was founded by Jan Koum and Brian Acton in 2009. In February 2014, Facebook announced it had acquired WhatsApp for $19 billion, its largest acquisition to date. As we know from above, WhatsApp is owned by Meta, the parent company that owns Facebook and other subsidiaries.

Who manages or runs WhatsApp?

The current CEO of WhatsApp is Will Cathcart. He took over the position after the departure of Jan Koum in 2018, one of the co-founders of WhatsApp. However, as a subsidiary of Meta Platforms (formerly known as Facebook), overall strategic decisions about the app would also involve top executives at Meta, like Mark Zuckerberg (CEO) and Javier Olivan (COO).

What is the history of WhatsApp’s ownership?

Meta Platforms Inc., formerly known as Facebook Inc., is the parent company that owns WhatsApp along with several other social media platforms, including Instagram and Oculus VR, among others. This means that while they operate independently on a day-to-day basis, major decisions about their operation and strategy are made at the level of their parent company – Meta.


Global active users (monthly)Approximately 2 billion
Daily usage frequency in the US50% of American WhatsApp users access daily
Largest market for Whatsapp users worldwideIndia is the app’s largest market
Number of messages exchanged on WhatsApp daily.Over 100 billion messages
Total global usersOver 2.24 billion global users
Males account for this percentage of its global user base.53.50%
Females account for this percentage of its global user base.46.50%
Number of Whatsapp Users in India, making it the country with most Whatsapp Users.390 million

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Joy Okumoko is a freelance technology writer who loves all things tech. She spends her spare time crocheting and working on her crafts.

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