Facebook to base WhatsApp payments team in London

Facebook has picked the UK as the main headquarters for its WhatsApp payment system, Financial Times writes.

The company is planning to hire about 100 people, mostly software engineers, in London as well as a small office in Dublin. This will expand WhatsApp’s workforce by approximately a quarter.

London is a global fintech hub and attracts businesses from countries where WhatsApp use is most popular like India.  The UK was also favoured over the U.S. since the app is much more popular there. WhatsApp is used by 1.5 billion people globally.

“Payments is one of the areas where we have an opportunity to make it a lot easier. I believe it should be as easy to send money to someone as it is to send a photo,” Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg spoke at the F8 conference. 

The company is also working on a machine-learning solution to “identify patterns of abuse in bulk messaging.” Since rolling out end-to-end encryption, the company has been unable to see or trace messages sent on WhatsApp, which while offering privacy has also seen the platform used for illegal purposes, such as sharing images of child abuse.