Good News For WhatsApp Users as Facebook Backs Down on Adverts, But There is a Catch

It seems WhatsApp users have one lesser thing to worry about, at least in the near future. Facebook seems to have decided that it won’t plaster adverts all over your favorite instant messaging app. This spot of good news comes from the Wall Street Journal, which reports that Facebook has disbanded the team that was working on integrating apps into the WhatsApp.

It is also believed that the code which this team was in the process of integrating into WhatsApp has also been removed from the app. However, there is usually a catch when it comes to good news. And there is one in this case too. Facebook intends to go ahead with its plan to integrate advertising in the WhatsApp Status.

The plans to integrate advertising within WhatsApp was one of the reasons that led to the fallout between WhatsApp founders Jan Koum and Brian Acton and the Facebook executives, which ultimately saw Koum and Acton exiting the company. They feared advertising would mean a weakening of the end-to-end encryption which the app touts as a major privacy and security feature.

So, here is where things stand at this moment, with regards to Facebook’s plan to monetize the WhatsApp platform. The reported disbanding of the team tasked with injecting advertising into the WhatsApp user experience is clearly a big step back for Facebook.

The social media giant always had plans to use the $22 billion acquisition to earn money, and advertising was the simplest method. WhatsApp has recorded unmatched growth since the Facebook acquisition of the instant messaging app back in 2014. The app currently has more than 1.5 billion users globally, and no other rival app comes close.

What perhaps softens the blow is that Facebook intends to go ahead with plans to put advertisements in the WhatsApp Status. WhatsApp Status is a way for users to share photos, videos, text updates or even GIFs to their network, and these disappear after 24 hours. This feature is very similar to Instagram Stories, also an app owned by Facebook. By allowing ads on Statuses, Facebook will let brands connect with customers.

We had reported earlier this month that Facebook has still not given us a timeline as to when Status adverts will roll out on WhatsApp. However, the implementation is expected to work on the fairly simple method that would let users see a quick glimpse at the advertisement that accompanies their status. Users will then have to swipe up to get the details of the advertised product or service.

For a company that has been under fire over the past few years for taking user data privacy a bit too lightly, it will be interesting to see it whether a WhatsApp user’s display picture and how much of a user’s profile data, if at all, will be seen by advertisers.

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