WhatsApp is going to start featuring ads in its app soon. Officials at the company had confirmed this in a conversation with the Wall Street Journal last month and now a new report suggests that work on this has already begun.
According to WABetaInfo, WhatsApp is currently looking into implementing ads in its iOS app. The brand had previously stated that these advertisements would begin appearing sometime in 2019, so they might arrive within a couple of months for everyone.
WhatsApp Status Ads
It seems WhatsApp is going to insert these ads into Status updates. Once a user has seen a set amount of statuses, they’ll be shown an advertisement. This is pretty much how ads work on Instagram as well. People see an ad while they’re watching Stories. This model has apparently worked so well that Facebook is bringing it over to WhatsApp.
It’s an unfortunate turn of events for WhatsApp and its users. Back in 2014, the firm had promised people in a blog post that it would never show ads even after it got acquired by Facebook. It then changed its terms of service 18 months later so that data sharing became possible between the two companies.
This naturally led to a lot of anger for folks who felt like their privacy was being invaded by Facebook. The social networking behemoth could link a WhatsApp user’s phone number to their Facebook profile and send them targeted ads based on their activity.
This might be a necessary step because WhatsApp is completely end-to-end encrypted, meaning Facebook can’t see what two people are talking about. WhatsApp co-founder Brian Acton recently gave an interview to Forbes claiming that Facebook secretly had plans to generate ad revenue before it acquired WhatsApp, so this has been a long time coming.
Acton apparently tried to convince Facebook that it would be better to implement a metered-user model where folks have to pay a small amount after they send or receive a certain number of messages. Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg supposedly shot him down because she thought it wouldn’t scale.