Almost all Facebook-owned applications have been monetised by ads until now, including the actual Facebook and the later acquired Instagram. However, if there was one application which was away from the clutches of Facebook, it was WhatsApp. The most popular instant messaging platform in the world has been operating on a no ads basis until now. But, now it seems that the tables might turn and WhatsApp could also be getting ads inside it. There have already been reports about it previously, and this one just builds on top of the previous one. There was a popular Tweetstorm on the matter last year where it was revealed that WhatsApp might start rolling out ads inside the application. Later on, WhatsApp Vice President Chris Daniels had confirmed the reports saying that indeed WhatsApp will be rolling out ads in the “Status” section. It is worth noting that there has already been a first look at the ads in the Status section as well. This means that we already have an idea about how the ads will look in the Status section of WhatsApp. Although we do not have a firm schedule as to when ads would start rolling out in WhatsApp, they are expected to start this year.
WhatsApp Ads to Come This Year
Only a few months back, Daniel had announced, “We are going to be putting ads in Status. That is going to be primary monetisation mode for the company as well as an opportunity for businesses to reach people on WhatsApp.” Although there is not more information available as to how these ads would work, it is pretty much clear that the ads would be working based on Facebook’s native advertisement platform and they would be aimed at connecting the people through the WhatsApp Business, of that particular brand or advertiser.
WhatsApp Co-Founders at Odds With Zuckerberg
In the past, there has been a row between Mark Zuckerberg and Jan Koum, which was the founder of WhatsApp. While Jan had been adamant on keeping WhatsApp ads-free, Mark Zuckerberg had decided to roll out ads on the platforms. This had also led to Jan leaving the company. Brian Acton, another co-founder of WhatsApp, was also unhappy with the decision and said that targeted advertising is something that makes him “unhappy”. He also alleged that Zuckerberg was in a hurry to make money by monetising WhatsApp, and this would also lead to undermining the encryption technology which supports security and privacy on WhatsApp. It is worth noting that WhatsApp chats are end to end encrypted.
Some WhatsApp Users Also Unhappy
The application boasts of having 1.5 billion users across the globe, and in India alone, it has 400 million users. There has been a long ongoing debate about privacy with Facebook, targeted advertisement, and how people feel about sharing their data online. The users have also not taken the news of targeted advertisement on the platform not too well. This means that when Facebook decides to roll out ads on WhatsApp, it might see a little backlash from the users. The primary concern amidst the rollout of the ads is of privacy. WhatsApp uses end to end encryption, thus implying that it cannot read your messages or access your data. However, if the ads are to be rolled out, they cannot be made relevant to the users, unless some amount of data is used for targeting, thus creating a contradiction.