Group 1 Project Proposal

By: Viktoria Langwallner, Seongjin Bien, Teresa Döring, and Zahabiya Malubhoy

The business that we will be investigating is WhatsApp.

WWhatsApp_Logo_1.pnghatsApp is a free (data charges may apply) messaging app that offers messaging and calling. WhatsApp is being used in over 180 countries, by around 1 billion people.

As one of the most widespread phone applications in the world, Whatsapp has constantly been in our daily lives. We use it to communicate with friends, send pictures and videos, record audios and even make phone calls, which of course contain tremendous amount of personal, and often sensitive, information. When the scandal of Whatsapp being bought by Facebook and Facebook breaking one of Whatsapp’s big promises – data security – in order to fund its advertising business, it came as a huge, but not unexpected, shock to the user community.

Despite its ethical issues, the potential value of information that can be harvested from Whatsapp is a perfect example of Big Data. As of now, more than a billion people use Whatsapp (WhatsApp: Number of Users 2013-2016). The personal information that they share with Facebook without their knowledge is more than enough to create a Big Data set that can be used for anything. Whatsapp’s function as a communication tool means that the data that can be gathered is virtually unrestricted — anywhere from a person’s hobbies to their relationship status. The possibilities are indeed limitless. In the hands of the right (or capable) people, the consequences of this scandal can have tremendous effect on the lives of almost everyone on the planet, purely thanks to the sheer number of Whatsapp users. It is, in its truest sense of the word, “Big” Data.

In 2014, WhatsApp joined Facebook, but it’s focus is still on building a messaging imgres.pngservice that is fast and reliable. WhatsApp’s mission is to provide, “alternative to SMS. Our product now supports sending and receiving a variety of media: text, photos, videos, documents, and location, as well as voice calls. Our messages and calls are secured with end-to-end encryption, meaning that no third party including WhatsApp can read or listen to them. Behind every product decision is our desire to let people communicate anywhere in the world without barriers” (WhatsApp).
WhatsApp offers numerous services, starting with reliable messaging. WhatsApp used the internet connection on the phone to send messages for free. It offers group chats in order for people to be able to share messages or pictures with 256 people at one time. WhatsApp has also created a online desktop version, to which the chats can be sync too, allowing the user to use WhatsApp on the desktop. WhatsApp also has introduced WhatsApp Calling, which allows the user to also make free phone calls. WhatsApp has also recently introduced and end-to-end encryption, which supposedly encrypts and secures the users messages. There is also the possibility for the user to send voice messages and to share documents such as PDFs, spreadsheets, slideshows and more just through WhatsApp is they are under 100MB (WhatsApp).

Image result for people          The purchase of WhatsApp cost Facebook $19 billion, one of the biggest purchases in Silicon valley so far. However, as Facebook has always prioritized user growth over monetization, WhatsApp was a sweet deal. Over 500 million people use WhatsApp monthly and the service currently adds more than 1 million users per day. Seventy percent of WhatsApp users are active daily, compared to Facebook’s 62%. Additionally, WhatsApp users send 500 million pictures back and forth per day, about 150 million more than Facebook users (Deutsch, Alison L). Crudely put, Facebook’s acquisition of WhatsApp got this social networking giant into the phones of nearly half a billion people on this planet. WhatsApp plays a significant role in the global areas crucial to Facebook growth.WhatsApp will help fuel Facebook growth in developing markets where internet connectivity is sparse but where WhatsApp is widely used. An added advantage of acquiring WhatsApp is that it is  the most commonly used messenger in countries where SMS rates are too high to swallow. Facebook will then gain access to these mobile user bases. Connecting to WhatsApp users in these areas will also aid Facebook’s Internet.org initiative, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s plan to implement internet access to the two-thirds of the world not yet online (Ibid).

WhatsApp changed its privacy policy quite recently, resulting in broader data sharing with its parent company, Facebook. Sharing this kind of metadata gives Facebook an enhanced view of users’ online communic
ation activities, affiliations, and habits, and runs the risk of making private WhatsApp contacts into more public Facebook connections. The new privacy policy, for example, permits Facebook to suggest WhatsApp contacts as Facebook friends. Facebook can also use the data to show “more relevant” ads. In an announcement accompanying the privacy policy update, WhatsApp offers the example of “an ad from a company you already work with, rather than one from someone you’ve never heard of”—a frightening prospect considering the data coordination and sharing required for Facebook to know the companies with whom you do business (Gebhart, By Gennie).

Timeline and work distribution

Work Distribution:

The Business Model Canvas

Zahabiya: Key Partners, Key Activities, Key Resources

Jin: Customer Relationships, Customer Segments

Viktoria: Value Proposition, Channels

Teresa: Cost Structure, Revenue Streams

Come Together to do the SWOT analysis

Further Sub-Divide the SWOT analysis depending on the layout that we will be using – Each group member will recieve one of the four areas.

 

Timeline:

Deadline at the end of November;

8 weeks of time

Week 1 ( ~ 09.10)

Data collection

Preliminary research on Whatsapp according to member’s respective areas

Week 2

Canvas 1 write-up

Meeting

Week 3

Canvas 2 write-up

Meeting

Week 4

SWOT analysis

Week 5

Blog post writing starts

Week 6

Presentation preparation starts

Week 7

Final wrap-up

Week 8

Project ready
Preliminary Bibliography

Deutsch, Alison L. “WhatsApp: The Best Facebook Purchase Ever?” Investopedia, 25 Mar. 2015, http://www.investopedia.com/articles/investing/032515/whatsapp-best-facebook-purchase-ever.asp.

Gebhart, By Gennie. “What Facebook and WhatsApp’s Data Sharing Plans Really Mean for User Privacy.” Electronic Frontier Foundation, 12 Sept. 2016, https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2016/08/what-facebook-and-whatsapps-data-sharing-plans-really-mean-user-privacy-0.

“Ibid.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ibid.

“WhatsApp: Number of Users 2013-2016 | Statistic.” Statista, https://www.statista.com/statistics/260819/number-of-monthly-active-whatsapp-users/.

“WhatsApp.” WhatsApp, https://www.whatsapp.com/.

 

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