Apps like WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger are the primary means of communication between users in most of the world. They’re simple to use, and with the advent of smartphones, they’re accessible and available to pretty much everyone. WhatsApp, in particular, is what I use for most of my daily communications with family, friends, and acquaintances. The Facebook-owned app keeps adding features periodically, most of them unintrusive, but also some that could be considered as intrusive. One of the arguably intrusive ones is the “Status” feature, which allows users to upload stories just like they would on Instagram or Snapchat, and share them with their WhatsApp contacts.
The feature will, however, start getting even more intrusive, as Facebook plans on shoving ads into WhatsApp statuses. This was confirmed by WhatsApp’s vice president Chris Daniels, who said that the move was a part of Facebook’s monetization efforts for WhatsApp. Since the yearly $0.99 fee was removed, the app has remained ad-free and uncompromised which, while good for the user, also meant that WhatsApp was generating pretty much zero revenue. Furthermore, according to Mr. Daniels, the move will allow businesses to reach WhatsApp users around the globe—and with billions of users using the app daily, it’s definitely a market Facebook wants to exploit.
The move makes perfect sense from a business perspective: as we said before, the app was not generating any revenue, and Facebook wants to make money from it. But it sucks from a user’s perspective since it means you’re going to get unwanted ads while looking at your friends’ statuses, and it will likely put off more than one user from looking at statuses. Before Facebook acquired the company in 2014, WhatsApp was strongly against introducing ads to the service, standing behind their yearly $0.99 fee—which was since been removed—as the better alternative.
As of now, though, this change has not been implemented, and we’re not sure when will it be implemented, as Mr. Daniels did not give an estimated date. We’re guessing that we’ll probably start seeing ads in the Status feature come 2019.
Source: Outlook India