WhatsApp was first launched in 2009 by software developers and entrepreneurs Brian Acton and Jan Koum. It was later acquired by Meta Platforms in 2014 for USD 19 billion. This instant messaging and voice-over-internet protocol service now has more than 2 billion users around the world. It is a substitute for Facebook Messenger and competes with other instant messaging services and platforms like Line, Telegram, and Viber. The platform is also somewhat of a substitute for video conferencing platforms like Zoom Video Communications, Google Meet, and Microsoft Teams due to its video chat feature.
Pros: Advantages of WhatsApp
This communication platform is undeniably one of the most popular instant messaging services in the world. Additional features like voice and video calling and some aspects of social media have also expanded its capabilities and applications.
The following the specific advantages:
1. Send and Receive Unlimited Messages for Free: WhatsApp is a cost-free messaging platform that lets you keep in touch without any message limits. This is perfect for staying connected with distant friends and family or colleagues. Messaging is free because it depends on access to an internet connection.
2. Protect Messages with End-to-End Encryption: It also safeguards your messages from being intercepted by outsiders with its end-to-end encryption. Only you and the recipient can access the messages, even if someone tries to intercept them during transmission.
3. Connect Across Various Platforms and Devices: Another advantage of WhatsApp works seamlessly on major platforms or operating systems like Android, iOS, Windows, and macOS. This means you can chat with friends and family regardless of the device they use or seamlessly switch between devices.
4. Share Various Types of Media: The app also allows you to easily share photos, videos, documents, and voice messages. This makes it simple to share experiences and thoughts with loved ones. It also allows sharing of files.
5. Stay Connected With Large Groups: Create groups of up to 256 members on WhatsApp to easily stay in touch with extended circles of friends or family. This feature is also ideal for work-related group communication.
6. Share Status Updates and Status: These specific features are similar to some of the features of social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram. Status updates let your friends and family know your activities, thoughts, and feelings while stories allow you to share further short-lived or expiring images and videos.
Cons: Disadvantages of WhatsApp
WhatsApp might have notable features and advantages but it also has several drawbacks or disadvantages. Some of these are glaring when compared to other instant messaging services and other communication platforms.
Take following are the specific disadvantages:
1. Concerns Over User Data Privacy Worries: The platform uses end-to-end encryption. It is still worth mentioning that Meta, its owner and developer, has faced criticism for collecting extensive user data like phone numbers, contacts, and location, potentially enabling user tracking and targeted advertisements.
2. Unwanted Messages or Spams: It also has become a popular medium of communication used by spammers. This results in users receiving unsolicited messages, dubious offers, phishing attempts and other scams, and potential malware.
3. Spread of Unverified Information: The platform has also become notorious for the dissemination of unverified news, rumors, and propaganda. Some parties have used it to spread disinformation related to politics, science, and other current events. This irresponsible sharing can lead to confusion, panic, or public harm.
4. Concerns Relating to Overall Security: Another disadvantage of WhatsApp centers on security concerns stemming from its history of breaches. An incident in 2019 involved hackers accessing messages sent through the “View Once” feature.
5. Other Limitations of WhatsApp: The platform does not offer as many features as some other messaging apps. These include the ability to create polls or send stickers. It also has limited group chat participants, unlike Telegram. Some users have also complained that running the app in the background consumes too much mobile data.
Summary of the Pros and Cons of WhatsApp
The aforementioned advantages of WhatsApp make it an ideal instant messaging platform for keeping in touch with family and friends. Additional features like group messaging and media or file sharing also make it a communication tool for small-sized to medium-sized businesses. The platform remains a solid tool for personal communication. It can also be used for workplace communication. However, when compared to its competitors and substitutes, it lacks some features that make it a one-stop platform for a well-rounded communication.