And note the timing. This news (facebook, whisper systems) comes at the same time that EFF published the Let's Encrypt initative (EFF, Mozilla, Akamai, Cisco) .
I seem to remember there was an appeal to to make encryption the default coming from th3 w3c meeting a fortnight ago.
Is it a coincidence that this comes in time with an open letter by AOL, Apple, Dropbox, Evernote, Facebook, Google, LinkedIn, Microsoft, Twitter und Yahoo to the US senat to vote in favor of the USA Freedom Act (which it did not).
Apparently the big names feel the heat, it is bad for business when it is common knowledge globally that US companies are required by law to betray their customers' data.
And the way the US administration and politicos handled the topic after Edward Snowden showed us the proof of all the old suspicions did not help, it rather aggreviated the problem.
Nor did weasle worded dementi and press releases help. The global mistrust is massive and there is too much of critical expertise watching. And their attention just does not fade away. So the situation may have reached a point where some of the big players realize that feeding digital placebos is not enough to prevent further damage and they need reliable answers they can give their customers, You know, things that run less risk to be exposed by a presentation at Black Hat or CCC conferences some six months after introduction...
I'm not saying WhatsApp has reached this point and tries to do the right thing but I won't rule it out. It does look like a step in the right direction, raising the bar.
(I uninstalled WhatsApp after fb bought them and I use textsecure for my SMS on android)