With over 1.5 billion monthly active users in 2019, WhatsApp is currently one of the most popular social media apps in the world. It has features like text and voice messages, video calls, and sharing images and locations.
You can even share documents through a laptop or desktop. As long as there’s an Internet connection connected to your device, then you’re good to go. Almost everyone around the globe finds the app useful!
Just not in the US, though.
According to a Statista survey, only 16% of Americans are active WhatsApp users. Here’s why.
According to a 2015 survey, privacy is very important to Americans. They love having their personal space a lot. As mentioned, WhatsApp has its features where you can share your location. This means that the app can collect your personal information. This knowledge makes many Americans uncomfortable.
Aside from that, Whatsapp has features that allow you to see if someone is online or not. Although there is an option where you can change your privacy settings, there’s still a chance that your personal space may be compromised.
Facebook’s acquisition of WhatsApp in 2014 didn’t particularly help with the app’s privacy issues either. WhatsApp’s co-founder Jan Koum himself left the company after arguing with Facebook management over data privacy concerns.
Unlimited Call & SMS
Most Americans’ mobile phones have a contract with their respective cellular companies. These mobile companies usually offer flat rates for texts and free minutes of calls.
In WhatsApp, you can also use it for free. This is one of the reasons why most people in other countries use the app, it can save you money on texting or calling. But if you’re not connected to the internet, charges may apply.
That’s a problem for most Americans though. When they don’t have access to WiFi, then they need to use their data. And mobile data packages do not come cheap. So why should Americans invest time in using it when they already have a cheaper option?
In other countries, this is not the case. Sending texts or calling someone using their mobile phone is expensive. That’s why they tend to use Whatsapp instead of texting or calling someone. (Related: The Problem With Using For International Calls)
But again, in the US, sending a text through their mobile phones is much cheaper. So why bother?
Most Americans’ mobile phones already have their built-in messaging apps. Whether its an iOS or Android, it usually has.
For example, iPhone users already have iMessage downloaded. So why waste time downloading another messaging app that has almost the same feature of the app you have?
Besides, Americans usually are wary of new apps. If the users find the app unnecessary, then there’s no reason at all to download it. They already have lots of apps on their smartphones. So why waste a slot for an app that doesn’t offer something new?
Just Not Interested
There are instances that some Americans need to use WhatsApp. Let’s say, they need to talk to someone outside the US, then sometimes they tend to download WhatsApp.
But not because they want to.
It’s just that, WhatsApp is much better to use when sending a message outside the country. Finding a network provider that offers cheap international calls or SMS can be hard in the US. Hence, the need to download the app.
However, most Americans still prefer other apps like Facebook Messenger or Skype.
Facebook Messenger is already connected to the user’s Facebook account. So why use another app that only offers the same quality and service? Again, it’s unnecessary.
Besides, if they’re calling an international or landline number, there’s always MyLine. It offers calls abroad for as low as $0.001 per minute even without an internet connection. Subscribers also get unlimited international SMS when they buy at least $2 of credit.
Yes, WhatsApp may be useful, and everyone else seems to enjoy it. But Americans will still find it unnecessary if it can’t exceed the level of service that other apps can give.
About The Author
As a parent who’s always on a budget, Franchette Agatha Jardin loves blogging and sharing some cheap but quality lifehacks. That includes making international calls, especially when she needs to contact her family abroad.