Zuckerberg claims that WhatsApp has the power to 'cannibalise' public social platforms

Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook CEOBCCL

  • The CEO of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg, divulged that the popular messaging app, WhatsApp, has the potential to replace public platforms — like Facebook itself.
  • Zuckerberg said that he is already seeing some examples of "cannibalisation" happening in India.
  • It’s not just India but 64 countries around the world where WhatsApp is more popular than Facebook.
  • He also expressed how there is an opportunity to "build a platform focused on privacy".
Mark Zuckerberg, the CEO of Facebook, confessed that WhatsApp has the potential to replace public social networking — like Facebook and Facebook-owned Instagram — during a conference call with analysts on Wednesday.

"As private platforms have grown, in some cases we've seen some cannibalisation of the more public platforms in countries like India, where WhatsApp is very popular," he said clarifying, "But the broader pattern across the world is that people want to use both private and public platforms — so I believe building out this private social platform is a much greater opportunity than it is a risk."

Zuckerberg may not seem worried but since Facebook bought WhatsApp five years ago, the mobile app has failed to generate profits.
And, it’s not just India, but the private social network is more popular than its public counterpart in many markets around the world 64 countries around the world including Brazil, Russia and Turkey.


One of the reasons that WhatsApp works better in emerging markets is simple logistics. The app is smaller in size, so it’s easier for users in low connectivity areas — like rural India — to download and use. Facebook, on the other hand, is a larger mobile app littered with ads and ‘sponsored posts’ that consumes more data.

Facebook vs Instagram vs WhatsApp in monthly active users (MAUs) around the worldAppAnnie

There’s also the limitation where on Facebook, users can only talk to their contacts but on WhatsApp — they can pretty much message or WhatsApp call anybody provided they have a phone number.

The messaging app also has the added benefit of letting users delete sent messages, which has been a boon to many.

That being said, Zuckerberg does appreciate that a bigger opportunity might be in making. "Over time there’s an even bigger opportunity with the digital living room to build a platform focused on privacy," he stated.

And, that might be because most of the issues around Facebook in the recent have been about its privacy concerns.The company is under scrutiny in Canada, the European Union and the US for its questionable practices.

See also:
Facebook follows in TikTok’s footsteps by bringing music to posts and stories

Indians can't get enough of Facebook despite all controversies

Facebook's AI is deleting one million accounts every day as the Indian election heats up

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