India sent 20 billion WhatsApp messages on New Year’s eve | HT Tech

India sent 20 billion WhatsApp messages on New Year’s eve

In the 24 hours leading up to midnight on New Year’s eve, India sent 20 billion messages

By: AMRITA MADHUKALYA
| Updated on: Jan 03 2020, 23:18 IST
(Raju Dhuri/Hindustan Times)

In the hours leading up to New Years Eve, people across the globe sent a record-breaking 100 billion messages on the private messaging platform WhatsApp, the highest in the platform's 10-year history.

Of these 20 billion messages where exchanged in India alone. And, 12 billion of all global messages exchanged were images.

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The figures were released by WhatsApp on Friday. The company said that the messages shared on December 31, 2019 saw more messages sent than on any previous day in WhatsApp's history. As per the estimates of WhatsApp, the count is of messages shared in the 24 hours ahead of New Years Eve in Pacific Time.

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"WhatsApp's end-to-end encryption ensures that only you and the person you're communicating with can read what's sent, and nobody else -- not even WhatsApp. However it seems fair to assume that a very large number of the messages sent on December 31st were wishing someone a 'Happy New Year'," a statement from WhatsApp read.

An estimate of daily average use of the platform's features in the last year has revealed that the five most popular features of the platform are texts, status updates, picture messages, calling and voice notes.

There have also been reports that WhatsApp is adding a new feature -- ads in status updates -- to monetise.

Inside India, the platform is also gearing to face the government's diktat on traceability. The Indian government's intermediary guidelines, which insists on the platform's responsibility to trace messages that might foment trouble has put the platform in a tricky situation. The company has insists on encryption, and has made its stand clear on several occasions to the ministry of electronics and information technology during consultations.

"The proposed changes are going overboard and are not consistent with strong privacy protections that people around the world are seeking. If the government goes ahead with the regulations, it will require us to re-architect our product," Carl Woog, WhatsApp's Head of Communications had said in February last year while in India.

Gurshabad Grover of the Centre for Internet Security says that while the bulk is astonishing, the government should direct its attention to not allow any company monopolise the market.

"Instead, the government wants to circumvent user privacy; the Intermediary Guidelines seems to have been designed solely for WhatsApp, which has captured the Indian market in a very short time. An estimate says it has 40 crore users, giving it access to critical metadata about our communication patterns. The government should insist on interoperability in the interest of open standards," said Grover.

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First Published Date: 03 Jan, 13:44 IST
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