After attracting a lot of negative publicity, Facebook has backed away from its plans of selling ads on WhatsApp. However, this does not mean Facebook has given up on its hopes to generate revenue from WhatsApp. Facebook plans to bring applications to WhatsApp’s Status feature.
Selling ads on WhatsApp has always been controversial
Jan Koum, the co-founder of WhatsApp, left the company after Facebook announced its plans to introduce ads on the popular message platform, in 2018. Brian Acton, the other co-founder of WhatsApp, left the company too, citing misalignment of vision and threats to privacy. Facebook had put together a team to help it discover ways to monetize WhatsApp. Recently, the social media giant disbanded that team as well.
Facebook plans to allow businesses to organize contacts and communicate with customers. This would nudge WhatsApp in the direction of a CRM. The co-founders of WhatsApp left the company because doing so would negate the end-to-end encryption feature. At the moment, one can safely surmise that Facebook will continue to look for ways that van help it generate revenue off WhatsApp Status. However, for the time being, all plans seem to be put on hold.
Facebook’s WhatsApp fiasco in brief
- Facebook has abandoned plans to introduce ads into WhatsApp messages
- It plans to introduce ads at a later date on Status
- Facebook also intends to allow business users to turn WhatsApp into a quasi-CRM
- WhatsApp’s co-founders left the company citing disagreements with the monetization approach
- Any attempt to introduce ads may result in people migrating in droves
Privacy concerns have forced many users to look elsewhere
WhatsApp has generated a lot of privacy concerns and people have pointed out that the end-to-end encryption isn’t so stable. In fact, many governments have repeatedly placed requests for information about chat messages sent on the platform. Consequently, users have migrated to other chat messengers such as Telegram, Signal, and Wire.
If Facebook pushes its plans to introduce ads at a later date, the company may lose out on a substantial chunk of its users. Facebook has faced similar problems with Messenger as well, but it retains a stronger control over its native messaging app.