WhatsApp Vice President Chris Daniels on Wednesday confirmed that WhatsApp Status will indeed serve advertisements to the users worldwide. The confirmation comes close on the heels of many speculations about the Facebook-owned company’s plans to monetise the world’s most popular chat app. Daniels is in India on his maiden visit, which is a part of the company’s plan of action to educate Indians on curbing the spread of fake news and misinformation.
“We are going to be putting ads in Status,” Daniels told IANS in a media briefing in New Delhi. “That is going to be primary monetisation mode for the company as well as an opportunity for businesses to reach people on WhatsApp,” he added. Daniels, however, did not provide any specific timelines as to when the advertisements will finally arrive on WhatsApp.
WhatsApp Status was redesigned last year to introduce images, videos, and GIFs in addition to textual posts, like Instagram Stories, which itself is ‘inspired’ from Snapchat Stories feature. Instagram injects advertisements in Stories when a user plays many Stories consecutively – WhatsApp is likely to follow the same pattern for advertisements.
The first instance of company’s plans to drive efforts towards monetisation of WhatsApp emerged when top WhatsApp officials told The Wall Street Journal about the advertisements. The report by WSJ said that advertisements will arrive on WhatsApp in the Status feature, much like how Facebook’s other app Instagram deals with advertisements.
Daniels has spoken about the company’s plans for monetisation after key people who left Facebook recently began justifying their exit on common ground. Brian Acton, one of the co-founders of WhatsApp, told Forbes that Mark Zuckerberg always wanted to make money from the app, which in turn would have undermined the end-to-end encryption on WhatsApp. “Targeted advertising is what makes me unhappy,” Acton said in the interview.
The big question that looms this decision is the compromise advertisements will put on the end-to-end encryption security for WhatsApp messages, which makes it nearly impossible for WhatsApp and any third-party to log the private chats between contacts. However, it is not clear as of now whether advertisements in Status will interact with the chat content.