Various rumors already indicated in early 2019 that Facebook, which bought WhatsApp for $19 billion in 2014, would like to play advertising via the popular messenger. Initially, the plans envisaged that ads would be displayed between users’ status messages, as was the case with Instagram, which bought Facebook for about $737 million as early as 2012. Later, ads would also be displayed in chat windows and in groups. As the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) reports, Facebook has now abandoned these plans for the time being.
According to the WSJ, one of the reasons for this is that Facebook has removed the code components from WhatsApp that were necessary for the advertising and that the team that developed the advertising integration has been dissolved.
Despite the surprising backtracking, WSJ analysts believe that Facebook intends to generate revenue from the approximately 1.5 billion WhatsApp users in the long term. Advertising will therefore follow in the coming years in the already announced or other forms. The article cites end-to-end encryption, which has been standard since 2016, as the reason for the current lack of advertising. In order to be able to display advertising in the messages, Facebook would have to break this encryption, but this would put the privacy of users at risk.
WhatsApp business as source of revenue
For this reason, Facebook wants to generate revenues with WhatsApp Business in the near future. The special company version of the messaging service offers additional functions to organize contacts and simplify customer communication. New features of the tool, which is mainly used by small businesses, could become chargeable and thus generate revenue.
In addition, WhatsApp Pay and Facebook Pay could soon find their way into Messenger. WhatsApp Pay, an alternative to Google Pay and Apple Pay, will initially be rolled out in India and Indonesia. Facebook Pay was announced in the U.S. in November and will be available through WhatsApp, Instagram, and other company channels in addition to Facebook.