Facebook Inc, the parent company of popular social messaging app, Whatsapp has announced that ads will now feature in the status section of the app despite its earlier stance not to.
Though critics and users have suggested that ads could undermine the privacy and security enjoyed by WhatsApp users, Facebook has gone ahead to display how the ads would look in the app at the annual Facebook Marketing Summit in Rotterdam, Netherlands.
The ads which will appear between Whatsapp stories just like it is on Instagram, will allow users to click on the ads, which take up the whole screen, and will be redirected to the advertisers website.
Whatsapp added the Status feature in February 2018, allowing users to create temporary posts as a way of sharing the latest activities in their lives with their contacts.
With the current development, users are saying that the 1.5billion-strong messaging app had planned it all along as it introduced the status update section.
WhatsApp had originally built its reputation on providing users with an ad-free space right from the onset.
“No ads. No games. No gimmicks,” declared an unofficial slogan for the company, which one early investor said was built on a “commitment to stay focused on building a pure messaging experience”.
Speaking on the plan, the Chief Revenue Officer of Wire who is in competition with Whatsapp, Rasmus Hoist, told The Sun: “Allowing adverts to creep into users’ messages not only undermines their privacy, but also jeopardises their sensitive information and data, meaning that every word someone communicates through the application is used as ammunition for the data harvesting machine used by adtech firms.
“It also means that the application is not truly end-to-end encrypted because this data is left at the mercy of the tech barons using customer information for profit.”
Meanwhile, Facebook has suggested that the Whatsapp ads will be powered by Facebook’s native advertising system. The firms intentions to make money from WhatsApp forced it’s co-founders to leave the company once Facebook had bought it from them.
Brian Acton, one of WhatsApp’s co-founders, said he had to leave because Mark Zuckerberg’s rush to make money from the app was making him “unhappy”.
Quick Bits About Whatsapp History
- WhatsApp was created in 2009 by computer programmers Brian Acton and Jan Koum – former employees of Yahoo.
- Koum coined the name WhatsApp because it sounded like “what’s up”
- The app was released with a messaging component in June 2009 with 250,000 active users after a number of tweaks.
- It was originally free but switched to a paid service to avoid growing too fast.
- Facebook bought WhatsApp Inc in February 2014 for $19.3billion (£14.64bn).
- The app is particularly popular because all messages are encrypted during transit, shutting out snoopers.
- As of today May 2019, WhatsApp has over 1.2 billion users globally.
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