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WhatsApp exists thanks to Twitter and Facebook’s ignorance

Updated Dec 19th, 2018 8:46PM EST
WhatsApp Messaging App History

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The popular WhatsApp messaging app got even more attention following the unexpected $19 billion Facebook purchase, with various reports revealing even more details about the company. Interestingly, Brian Acton’s tweets from previous years reveal some of the factors that led to the creation of WhatsApp. Before starting the venture with Jan Koum, Acton applied for jobs with both Twitter and Facebook… and both companies shot him down.

“Got denied by Twitter HQ,” Acton wrote on Twitter on May 23rd, 2009. “That’s ok. Would have been a long commute.”

A few months later Acton took again to Twitter to talk about his attempt to get a job from Facebook.

“Facebook turned me down,” he wrote on August 3rd. “It was a great opportunity to connect with some fantastic people. Looking forward to life’s next adventure.”

As The Guardian notes, that adventure involved meeting Koum, “a Ukrainian immigrant whose childhood experience of Soviet era surveillance inspired the WhatsApp messaging service.”

“I grew up in a society where everything you did was eavesdropped on, recorded, snitched on,” Koum said. “Nobody should have the right to eavesdrop, or you become a totalitarian state — the kind of state I escaped as a kid to come to this country where you have democracy and freedom of speech. Our goal is to protect it.”

The two execs met at Yahoo and launched WhatsApp in 2009, but the app may have never been born had either Twitter or Facebook hired Acton in the first place.

Screenshots of Acton’s tweets that are now part of WhatsApp’s history follow below.

Chris Smith Senior Writer

Chris Smith has been covering consumer electronics ever since the iPhone revolutionized the industry in 2008. When he’s not writing about the most recent tech news for BGR, he brings his entertainment expertise to Marvel’s Cinematic Universe and other blockbuster franchises.

Outside of work, you’ll catch him streaming almost every new movie and TV show release as soon as it's available.