We’ve known for a while that WhatsApp will not remain ad-free, as reports in the past few months confirmed Facebook’s intentions to monetize its biggest acquisition ever, revealing the complex internal turmoil between Facebook’s top execs and WhatsApp’s co-founders — both WhatsApp creators left Facebook earlier this year. The Status feature is where you can expect advertisements to pop up in the not too distant future, and a Facebook exec reconfirmed it.
WhatsApp, like other Facebook properties, copied Snapchat’s stories feature and used it to replace the old Status experience, where users would use just text for status updates. It turns out that the stories-like interface, which replaces text with photos or videos, is a perfect medium for ads, and Facebook plans to use that screen retail estate to make money.
“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,” Facebook vice president Chris Daniels told reporters in India, per The Economic Times.
As annoying as that may sound, WhatsApp is still a business, one that’s not making money for Facebook, even though it happens to be one of the most popular chat services in the world. WhatsApp has over 1.5 billion users, and works on both mobile and desktop, allowing users to chat across platforms, and offering strong encryption on par with similar chat apps. Facebook paid for WhatsApp an astounding $19 billion four years ago, so its desire to make money is understandable.
Daniels did not offer a timeline, but Facebook is widely expected to deploy ads inside WhatsApp next year. According to previous reports, the arrival of ads in WhatsApp should not compromise the chat’s service end-to-end encryption.