Back in 2018, it became clear that Facebook’s hold on WhatsApp was going to come with some fundamental changes to the messaging application most of us use on a daily basis.
When WhatsApp co-founder Brian Acton left Facebook and US$850 million on the table it was clear what they had built was being changed and one of the biggest changes was the planned incorporation of advertising on WhatsApp
Targeted advertising is what makes me unhappyBrian Acton – WhatsApp Co-Founder
Facebook made it clear in 2018 and 2019 that they wanted to bring ads to WhatsApp’s status feature but it seems behind the scenes there was work to bring ads into the entire experience of WhatsApp and have ad placements in other sections of the application.
That’s a pretty alarming feature that would have changed the way people interact with WhatsApp on a much larger scale. We’ve seen status-like features on Facebook and Instagram integrate ads in a way that doesn’t radically change the user experience which is why there hasn’t been much backlash to the addition of this feature (though many harbour privacy concerns).
Adding ads to the entire chat application is intriguing for all the wrong reasons and the fact that this was scrapped should also bring relief to many users, even though Facebook being Facebook might decide at some point to bring that back.