Social media giant Facebook has dropped its controversial plan to sell ads on popular messaging app WhatsApp. The company recently confirmed that it will start showing adverts to its users worldwide. The controversial decision had evoked mixed reactions from users. As planned, the ads were supposed to start popping up in the Status feature. This was going to be the primary monetization mode for the company. The company had earlier said it will also provide an opportunity for businesses to reach out to the public. WhatsApp has over 1.5 billion active users worldwide.
WhatsApp in recent months disbanded a team that was asked to find ways to integrate ads into the app. Also, the team’s work has been reportedly deleted from WhatsApp’s code. However, there was no official statement from Facebook on the matter. Facebook had first announced plans to monetize WhatsApp in 2018. As part of the plans, promotional images would have appeared in the Status feature. The WhatsApp’s Status feature is similar to Stories on Instagram. Notably, adverts make up a huge proportion of Facebook’s income last year. Advertising accounted for nearly 98 percent of Facebook’s revenue in the third quarter of 2019.
WhatsApp was launched in 2009 by Brian Acton and Jan Loum. It was acquired by Facebook in 2014 for USD 22 billion. The company was looking for ways to monetize it since then. Also, it seemed a natural option for the company to add to its revenue as it has already contributed to Facebook’s income. WhatsApp co-founders were opposed to the idea of showing ads in between the chats. They quit nearly two years ago over their differences with Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg on the matter. Zuckerberg aimed to monetize WhatsApp by introducing ads. But Acton and Koum never wanted the app to become a platform full of advertisements. They alleged that Zuckerberg was in haste to make money from the platform and thus undermining elements of its encryption technology.