Meta denied rumors recently that it was contemplating pushing ads through its WhatsApp messaging application.
These rumors came out in a Financial News article that quoted several internal Meta insiders regarding a series of internal meetings on the topic.
WhatsApp Head Will Cathcart was quick to squash the rumors commenting on the X posting by the Financial Times saying “This @FT story is false. We aren’t doing this.”
This @FT story is false. We aren't doing this.
Also it looks like you misspelled Brian's name… https://t.co/Z47z9FC5yu
— Will Cathcart (@wcathcart) September 15, 2023
It isn’t hard to speculate that we are seeing an internal debate play out in the news over the topic.
WhatsApp is a free messaging and voice-over-IP application that provides safe and secure communications for over 2 billion global users.
The company was started in 2009 on founder Brian Acton’s company motto “No ads, no games, no gimmicks.”
Meta, then known as Facebook, acquired the company in 2014 for a whopping $19 billion.
And while the simple app is wildly popular because it is free and uses end-to-end encryption to keep user messaging safe, Meta has struggled to monetize it.
Revenue is currently generated through WhatsApp for Business, a premium service focused on mid to small-sized companies.
Meta estimates that there are roughly 200 million users of WhatsApp for Business paying a small monthly fee for extended services.
But this only accounts for a small portion of Meta’s overall revenue for an application that is much more popular than its sister messaging products Facebook Messenger and Instagram DMs.
This leads us back to the internal meetings where the company is supposedly contemplating adding advertisements interspersed with user messages.
Theoretically, these ads would appear in a similar fashion to ads that appear in Facebook Messenger and Gmail.
Internal fears are that this move would alienate many of the platform’s free users.
But for now, it appears the idea has been tabled.