Your worst nightmare is about to come true… WhatsApp will be bombarding us with advertisements and it’s not going to be fun.
The popular messaging app that swore to never use ads will soon be featuring them, much to many users’ despair. The decision comes as Facebook, who bought WhatsApp in 2014 for $18 billion, prepares to monetize the ‘Status’ feature. Just like a story on Instagram or Facebook, statuses on WhatsApp will last for 24 hours.
According to WhatsApp vice president Chris Daniels, ‘Status ads’ will soon be featured on the app. He spoke earlier this year saying, “We are going to be putting ads in ‘Status.’ That is going to be primary monetization mode for the company as well as an opportunity for businesses to reach people on WhatsApp.”
Unsurprisingly, the prospect of ads on the app has caused a stir with its users and original owners. The founder of WhatsApp, Brian Acton, said, “Targeted advertising is what makes me unhappy. [Facebook] represents a set of business practices, principles and ethics, and policies that I don’t necessarily agree with. At the end of the day, I sold my company. I sold my users’ privacy to a larger benefit.”
Many loyal WhatsApp users took to Twitter to vent out their frustration when the company was sold. Many even suggested leaving the app behind as a result of Facebook’s intervention and moving to rival app Telegram. However, WhatsApp made users feel at ease by promising in 2012 that it would never introduce ads, but it seems they didn’t stick to their word. They said, “Remember, when advertising is involved you the user are the product. Advertising isn’t just the disruption of aesthetics, the insults to your intelligence and the interruption of your train of thought.”
“At every company that sells ads, a significant portion of their engineering team spends their day tuning data mining, writing better code to collect all your personal data, upgrading the servers that hold all the data and making sure it’s all being logged and collated and sliced and packaged and shipped out. And at the end of the day the result of it all is a slightly different advertising banner in your browser or on your mobile screen.”
They added, “When we sat down to start our own thing together three years ago we wanted to make something that wasn’t just another ad clearinghouse.”