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WhatsApp to introduce a controversial feature to monetise platform soon

BusinessToday.In     January 2, 2019

WhatsApp is all set to introduce advertisements for the million of its users across the world. The controversial move to monetise the platform is in contradiction with the promise its original founders had made in 2012 when they assured its users to never use ads. This has irked many WhatsApp users who believe that the app will now be flooded with ads just like other platforms, including Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter. Confirming the development, WhatsApp Vice President Chris Daniels had recently said that the company would soon introduce 'Status ads' for the app. "That is going to be primary monetisation mode for the company as well as an opportunity for businesses to reach people on WhatsApp," he had said.

The prospects of targeted ads on WhatsApp have not gone down well with several WhatsApp users, who have threatened to quit the platform and switch to rival messaging apps like Telegram. "Are you getting ready to switch to Telegram, when WhatsApp starts showing adverts?" a user wrote on Twitter. Its original founder, Brian Acton, had also openly spoken against the practice, saying he didn't agree with such practices being followed by Facebook, which had bought WhatsApp for $19 billion in 2018. WhatsApp founders, Brian Acton, and Jan Koum left the organisation few years after Facebook acquired the application.

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The WhatsApp Status feature allows the user to post a series of pictures or videos that are on the platform for a limited period. Monetising the WhatsApp 'Status bar' is going to be similar to Instagram's or Facebook stories, where advertisements are squeezed in between posts. WhatsApp had implemented the feature within its beta version in October.

The co-founders of another Facebook-owned company, Instagram, Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger, also quit in 2018. There were no clear reasons why they left the organisation but reports suggested a conflict in terms of placing advertisements on the image sharing platform. The messaging platform, which competes with the likes of WeChat, Viber, Line and Hike, has over 250 million in India -- a key market where it is battling concerns over fake messages on its platform.

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Edited by Manoj Sharma

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