Who owns Facebook, WhatsApp, Instagram, Twitter and TikTok?
Facebook has apologised after an outage which hit billions of users for over six hours on Monday night – and also affected other services including Instagram and WhatsApp.
‘To the huge community of people and businesses around the world who depend on us: we’re sorry,’ Facebook engineering said in the statement.
‘We’ve been working hard to restore access to our apps and services and are happy to report they are coming back online now. Thank you for bearing with us.’
The technical problem was blamed on a ‘faulty configuration change’, which saw users around the world left without Facebook from around 4.30pm UK time.
The ever-popular social network is of course still one of the most used apps and services globally – but just who does own Facebook, and other social media and messaging services?
Here’s what you need to know…
Who owns Facebook?
Facebook was originally founded in 2004 by Harvard roommates Mark Zuckerberg, Eduardo Saverin, Andrew McCollum, Dustin Moskovitz and Chris Hughes.
Originally known as The Facebook, and intended for use by Harvard students, it gradually expanded to the wider world, and as of 2021 has 2.9bn monthly users.
The company was made public in 2012 – with Zuckerberg, the company’s CEO, the biggest sharedholder with 29.3% of Facebook’s Class A shares (worth an estimated $54bn (£39.6bn).
Other major shareholders include investment managers The Vanguard Group Inc, who have a 7.23% stake, investment advisors Fidelity Management and Research, with a stake of 5.09%, and another investment management group, T Rowe Price Associates, who have a 4.24% share.
Facebook has acquired 91 other companies across the world during its existence.
Who owns WhatsApp?
Facebook acquired Whatsapp for a deal worth $19bn (£13.9bn) back in 2014.
‘Facebook Messenger is widely used for chatting with your Facebook friends, and WhatsApp for communicating with all of your contacts and small groups of people,’ Mark Zuckerberg said of the deal.
‘Since WhatsApp and Messenger serve such different and important uses, we will continue investing in both and making them each great products for everyone.’
WhatApp was founded in 2009 by former Yahoo! employees Brian Acton and Jan Koum.
Who owns Instagram?
Photo-sharing service Instagram is also owned by Facebook, who acquired the company in a $1bn (£734m) deal in 2012.
‘We think the fact that Instagram is connected to other services beyond Facebook is an important part of the experience,’ Zuckerberg explained.
‘This is an important milestone for Facebook because it’s the first time we’ve ever acquired a product and company with so many users. We don’t plan on doing many more of these, if any at all.’
Instagram, founded by Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger, launched in 2010 originally as an iOS app for iPhone users, before being rolled out to Android in 2012 prior to its acquisition.
Who owns Twitter?
Twitter was founded by Jack Dorsey, Noah Glass, Biz Stone and Evan Williams in 2006, launching in July of that year.
It was born from the ashes of another company, Odeo, which allowed users to create, record and share podcasts.
The company is now a public company, with around 80% of its shares owned by private companies and investment management firms.
However Dorsey – who is Twitter’s CEO – has the biggest share of the company at 2.25%.
Who owns TikTok?
Video-sharing site TikTok is owned by a Chinese company, ByteDance.
It is an international version of the Chinese site Douyin, which was released to the Chinese market in 2016.
The TikTok app was released by the same developers in some parts of the world in 2017, though it wasn’t available on iOS and Android worldwide until 2018, after ByteDance took over a similar app named musical.ly.
In November 2017, ByteDance paid a whopping sum to merge with musical.ly – a reported $1 Billion (£123 million) – which was a Shanghai-based start-up already popular with young music fans.
It’s one of the fastest growing social media sites in the world, with an estimated 2bn downloads worldwide as of October 2020.
Who owns Snapchat?
Snapchat is owned by founders Evan Spiegel and Bobby Murphy – who founded the service with fellow Stanford University student Reggie Brown.
Brown is reported to have brought the idea for a disappearing photo app to the pair, who originally launched as Picaboo in 2011.
He was later ousted from the company when it was relaunched as Snapchat – and sued Spiegel and Murphy, settling for an estimated $157m (£115m), as well as a credit for the conceptual idea of the app.
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