FTC approves $19B Facebook-WhatsApp deal — with a caveat

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The Federal Trade Commission approved Facebook’s $19 billion acquisition of WhatsApp on Thursday, but issued a warning to the messaging app that it needs to keep its pre-Facebook level of privacy in place.

Bureau Director Jessica Rich wrote a letter to both companies’ legal counsel, noting that before making any changes to how Facebook uses data already collected from WhatsApp users, both companies must get affirmative consent. Facebook/WhatsApp also must not misrepresent their efforts in maintaining the privacy and security of data. Rich also recommends that WhatsApp users be able to opt out of any future changes to how newly-collected data is used.

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What others are saying about Facebook’s acquisition of WhatsApp

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When Facebook acquired internationally-popular messenger WhatsApp for a total of $19 billion, the tech world was abuzz with reaction, jubilation and speculation.

We talked with several analysts and experts to get their take on if WhatsApp was the right purchase for Facebook — and at the right price.

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WhatsApp: Facebook’s springboard to international influence

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WhatsApp may not be well known to U.S. users, but make no mistake: Facebook’s $19 billion acquisition of the messaging app is a huge deal. WhatsApp is largely popular internationally, and as Mark Zuckerberg said in a conference call Wednesday afternoon, has the chance to grow past 1 billion users.

WhatsApp has more than 450 million monthly active users — 70 percent of whom are active on a given day. WhatsApp users, some of whom pay a nominal fee to use the app on a subscription model, are growing by 1 million users per day. They send more than 19 billion messages per day and receive more than 34 billion per day. 600 million photos, 200 million voice messages and 100 million video messages are sent through WhatsApp every day.

But AppData’s revenue estimates show just why Facebook acquired WhatsApp. According to AppData’s revenue estimates for the Android app, just 8.2 percent of WhatsApp’s global revenue so far this year has come from the U.S., compared to 73.3 percent in Germany and 18.5 percent in the U.K.

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