WhatsApp joins forces with the World Health Organisation on new ‘Vaccines for All’ sticker pack in the hopes of offering users a ‘fun way to privately express their joy’ about the Covid-19 jab
- The new sticker pack includes a range of Covid-19 vaccine-related illustrations
- These include syringes and plasters, as well as vaccinated people embracing
- WhatsApp stickers let users share feelings that ‘can’t be expressed with words’
WhatsApp has joined forces with the World Health Organisation (WHO) for its new ‘Vaccines for All’ sticker pack, as the Covid-19 vaccine rollout continues at pace.
The sticker pack features a range of vaccine-related illustrations, including syringes, plasters and glass phials, as well as two vaccinated people embracing and a doctor holding a Covid-testing swab.
WhatsApp hopes the stickers will offering its users a ‘fun way to privately express their joy’ about getting their Covid-19 jab.
WhatsApp stickers, which were introduced in 2018, let users share their feelings in a way that ‘they can’t always express with words’, much like emoji.
The new ‘Vaccines for All’ sticker pack features a range of vaccine-related illustrations, including syringes, plasters and glass phials, as well as a doctor holding a Covid-testing swab
HOW TO SEND WHATSAPP STICKERS
Open an individual or group chat.
To add sticker packs, tap Emoji > Stickers > Add.
Tap Download next to the sticker pack you want to download.
A green check mark will appear once the download is complete.
Tap Back. Find and tap the sticker you want to send.
Once you tap the sticker, it’ll send automatically.
‘The Vaccines for All sticker pack is available now within WhatsApp,’ said WhatsApp in a blog post on Tuesday.
‘We hope these stickers offer people a fun and creative way to connect and privately express the joy, relief, and hope they feel about the possibilities the Covid-19 vaccines offer.’
To send the new stickers, Android users need to have an individual or group chat open and tap the smiley face on the left of where it says ‘Type a message’.
This brings up the logo for stickers at the bottom – a small square with the bottom right corner peeling away slightly.
iOS users should initially see the same square stickers logo to the right of the chat box. They’ll need to tap this to bring up another stickers logo at the bottom, next to the GIF option.
Tapping on the plus symbol to the right will bring up a list of all available stickers, which users can download by tapping the downward arrow.
WhatsApp revealed a similar sticker pack around this time last year in partnership with WHO, called ‘Together at Home’, which is still available to download.
This pack included references to lockdown and social distancing, including air high-fives, the trouble with working from home with a pet cat, indoor aerobic exercise and a hand holding a bar of soap.
WhatsApp said billions of stickers are sent every day on the Facebook-owned chat platform, which has more than two billion users worldwide.
Since stickers’ launch in 2018, they have become one of the fastest growing ways people communicate.
The ‘Together at Home’ was released in April last year to help people stay connected throughout the pandemic
So far, WhatsApp has partnered with more than 150 national, state, and local governments, and with organisations like WHO and UNICEF, on Covid-19 helplines since the start of the pandemic.
More than 3 billion messages have been sent across these global helplines in the past year, the firm also said on Tuesday.
‘As the pandemic enters a new phase in many countries, governments are using these helplines to connect citizens privately to accurate vaccine information and registration, in countries such as Indonesia, South Africa, Argentina, Brazil, and India,’ WhatsApp said.
‘In Indonesia, 500,000 medical workers registered for their vaccine appointments on this service in its first five days.
‘We want to help governments and international organisations connect as many people around the world to vaccine information and services as possible, especially those in hard-to-reach places or in marginalised groups.’
THE HISTORY OF WHATSAPP
Back in 1996, Brian Acton was the 44th employee hired by Yahoo as an infrastructural engineer.
For the following nine years he worked at Yahoo and lost millions in the dot-com bubble in 2000.
According to his Twitter he was turned down for a job at Facebook in 2009 and also spent a year travelling.
In the same year he bought an iPhone and decided the App Store – which at the time had only been around for seven months – was going to rapidly expand.
Him and his colleague from Yahoo, Jan Koum, decided they wanted to create something.
Koum reputedly came up with the name WhatsApp because it sounded like ‘what’s up?’
WhatsApp was created by Koum and Acton in 2009 and initially cost $0.99 per year to subscribe.
Just one week after he decided he wanted to create the app, he incorporated WhatsApp in California.
WhatsApp’s founders made their position on advertising clear in 2012.
‘Remember, when advertising is involved you the user are the product,’ they said.
‘Advertising isn’t just the disruption of aesthetics, the insults to your intelligence and the interruption of your train of thought.
‘When we sat down to start our own thing together three years ago we wanted to make something that wasn’t just another ad clearing house.’
WhatsApp which was acquired by Facebook for $19 billion (£11.4 billion) in 2014 – the largest deal in Facebook’s history.
WhatsApps $0.99 charge to join was scrapped after the acquisition, in 2016, and Facebook has been looking for ways to monetise it since.
After the acquisition in 2014, Koum reiterated the promise that WhatsApp would never introduce adverts: ‘You can count on absolutely no ads interrupting your communication.
‘There would have been no partnership between our two companies if we had to compromise on the core principles that will always define our company, our vision and our product.’
Koum and Acton then changed WhatsApp’s terms of service to explicitly forbid ads on the platform in 2016 – hinting that the issue of monetisation was brought about by Facebook fairly soon after the acquisition.
However, Acton left the company in 2017 and Koum in 2018 after arguments over ads and user data.
‘At the end of the day, I sold my company,’ Acton later told Forbes. ‘I sold my users’ privacy to a larger benefit. I made a choice and a compromise. I live with that every day.’
Now WhatsApp is one of the biggest mobile messaging apps with 2 billion users globally.
Acton is now believed to be worth $5.5 billion (£3.9 billion) and works at Signal Foundation, which he founded in 2018.
The aim of the non-profit organisation is ‘to develop open source privacy technology that protects free expression and enables secure global communication’.