Despite a seemingly never-ending trail of blunders, glitches, and privacy breaches at Facebook, people still trust WhatsApp. However, as revealed recently, Facebook has finally decided to monetize WhatsApp. Allegedly, they will launch a dedicated option for accommodating WhatsApp ads.
WhatsApp Ads Arriving Next Year
As revealed by an official at the Facebook Marketing Summit 2019 (FMS19) in Rotterdam, Netherlands, Facebook has finalized the plans to monetize WhatsApp. According to Olivier Ponteville, Head Be Connect digital marketing agency, WhatsApp will introduce this feature somewhere in Stories.
— Olivier Ponteville (@Olivier_Ptv) May 21, 2019
Just as people see advertisements on Facebook, they will see it in WhatsApp as well. The ads will appear in the place where people see WhatsApp Stories of others. Matt Navara also confirmed the same in his tweet, alongside stating other changes.
Coming Soon to @WhatsApp…
– WhatsApp Status (Stories) to get Ads in 2020
– WhatsApp for Businesses to get richer messaging format options
– WhatsApp product catalog to be integrated with existing Facebook Business Manager catalog
— Matt Navarra (@MattNavarra) May 21, 2019
As evident from the image Navara shared, the ad will appear on screen just like a regular WhatsApp story. But, instead of the contact name appearing on top, the user will see the advertiser’s name. Swiping up the ad will allow the users to access more information about the ad.
Advertising is something Facebook is infamous for. However, since they acquired WhatsApp back in 2014, they had intended to do the same with WhatsApp too. Nonetheless, they didn’t do many changes in the app for a few years.
Only recently Facebook introduced WhatsApp Stickers and giving access to third-party developers. That move clearly hinted Facebook’s plans for this (yet) secure messaging app. And now, it seems things will materialize in 2020.
Battle Of Encryption vs. Advertising Begins
WhatsApp offers unconditional end-to-end encryption. Initially, WhatsApp charged users a small monthly subscription fee. But, in 2016, they ended this subscription fee, thus providing free E2E encryption to all users. Since then, people kept wondering the motive behind this move and speculated possible alternate ways for monetization. At that time, WhatsApp denied launching any third-party ads, which could possibly interrupt WhatsApp’s incredible encryption.
However, the following days made it clear that Facebook was trying hard to meddle with WhatsApp’s entirely private E2E encryption. They first introduced a feature to share data from WhatsApp with Facebook. Then introduced WhatsApp Stickers. After that, we heard of Zuckerberg’s plans to merge WhatsApp, Instagram, and Facebook Messenger. Although, he pledged to continue with E2E encryption. Yet, given that Facebook Messenger’s encryption is accessible to Facebook authorities, it raised concerns for WhatsApp’s encryption protocol that it is presently inaccessible even by the Facebook officials.
Now, the recent announcement raises questions about whether Facebook will end WhatsApp encryption. If Facebook prefers showing targeted ads to the users, it will have to break the encryption to access users’ chats and find their interests – if not now, then maybe later. Nevertheless, any such move will only enrage the users. So, the only possible move by now seems the replacement of WhatsApp’s encryption with that of Facebook Messenger or alike.
Is It The End Of WhatsApp E2E Encryption?
For now, we can only speculate about the happening in the future and hope that Facebook would not take any such step that compels the users to leave WhatsApp too. Certainly, with the presence and growing popularity of alternate apps like Telegram and Signal, Facebook must think twice before meddling with WhatsApp’s end-to-end encryption.
How do you see this announcement of launching WhatsApp ads? Will you continue to use it? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.
Side note: Don’t forget to update your WhatsApp for Android once again to stay protected from the spyware vulnerability (CVE-2019-3568). While Facebook announced the fix for it with the WhatsApp for Android version 2.19.134, the update description didn’t precisely state it. However, the latest WhatsApp for Android v2.19.150 confirms the security fix in the description.