Facebook Decides Against Adding Ads Across WhatsApp

Farai Mudzingwa Avatar

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 unhappy

Brian 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.



What’s your take?

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  1. The Principal

    The greatest headache in cooperate history. Over 2 billion users now accumulated, zero dollars made. The fact is that we hate ads, and that’s not going to change.

    1. Edmore Mutasa

      WhatsApp used to charge $0.99 for annual subscription, which they stopped in 2016. Long-term users of the iOS version were given free use for life, as a thanks for paying a fee to download the app when it had a one-off charge.
      If they bring ads, there are many other ad-free services that will take the exodus WhatsApp

  2. Critical Thinking 101

    The problem with people is that they forget that they are now in the digital era. How many people still view stocks on the Herald of Financial Gazette here in Zim. People just want convenience. To me targeted ads make it easier in my studies and personal life.

    Plus how do you want Facebook to make money. People are weird. They Launch a business and they advertise on Social Media/Networking sites, Tools or Apps but then say nah, ads are an invasion of privacy. Dah if it wasn’t for Ads Brian Acton and his colleagues would never have made it until 2016.

    1. Farai Mudzingwa

      Whilst I agree with you that monetizing such an app is reasonable I disagree with you on 2 fronts:
      1. Ads are indeed an invasion of privacy especially in the hands of Facebook who have failed to protect the privacy of users in numerous occasions now. If information collected from you for targeted advertising is used in an election THAT’S A BIG PROBLEM. That’s not what you signed up for

      2. Brian Acton and Jan Koum (co-founders of WhatsApp) both left Facebook because they didn’t envision ads being a part of the app they built. Their core values were to build a communication tool that is secure – at least that’s what they’ve said when interviewed…