If there is one annoying side-effect with many apps being free to use, it’s that it means you’re likely to be inundated with ads. Something which is annoying, but understandable from a business perspective where companies need to monetise the things they build. It appears that there is at least one widely used fee app which won’t be getting ads in the immediate future: WhatsApp.
While Facebook has been looking for ways to monetise the platform after they acquired it for $22 billion in 2014, it appears they are backing off on the idea according to The Wall Street Journal, who reports that the team that had been working on building ads into WhatsApp was disbanded in recent months, with their work subsequently “deleted from WhatsApp’s code.”
It’s not clear exactly why Facebook backtracked on the feature, though the report suggests it might be down to the ads feature requiring a weakening of the end-to-end encryption in WhatsApp. An important feature that has made the instant messaging platform so popular and which will no doubt move people to leave it should that get changed
According to the report though, it appears the company is focusing instead on features that will “allow businesses to communicate with customers and organize those contacts.” They will also look to integrate ads into WhatsApp’s Status feature, which allows people to share messages that will disappear after 24 hours. Targeting business features makes sense and fair if it allows for companies to interact with their customers better. Whether it will generate enough money to warrant the cost the remarkable spend the company has thrown at the app though remains to be seen.
Last Updated: January 17, 2020