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WhatsApp may soon introduce ads, whether you like it or not

WhatsApp is planning to put ads that are not in your inbox.

Whastapp logo on encrypted background
WhatsApp logo

While introducing new features and enhancing the platform security with Passkey support, WhatsApp head Will Cathcart has confirmed that the platform is working on showing ads to its users in the popular messaging app.

Although the news is disappointing, it does come as a surprise, as weeks ago, Cathcart denied claims of the Meta-owned messaging service’s plans to host ads, made by the Financial Times.

However, in a recent interview with Folha de S.Paulo, Cathcart reassured that users would never see a single ad in their main inbox.

Advertisements and promotions may appear in places like the Status page and Channels.

Meta is ready to pump ads into WhatsApp

According to Cathcart, the company doesn’t think the user inbox is the right place to show ads, and it’s not a suitable model – “When people open their inbox, they don’t want to see advertising.”

He added that other places in the instant messaging service could be suitable for ads. 

The reason I qualified the answer is that there could be ads in other places — channels or statuses. For instance, Channels might charge people to subscribe, they might be exclusive to paid members, or the owners might want to promote the channel. But, no, we won’t put ads in your inbox.

Interestingly, WhatsApp’s parent company, Meta initiated talks to pump ads into the platform’s status page long ago in 2018. Still, they were scrapped in 2020, possibly because it was an extremely unpopular business strategy. 

Even WhatsApp co-founder Brian Acton disagreed with the move to populate the app with ads. He told Forbes,

I sold my users’ privacy to a larger benefit, I made a choice and a compromise. And I live with that every day.

However, Cathcart hasn’t confirmed when WhatsApp ads will appear and what data the platform will use to target ads, as the service is end-to-end encrypted.

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Saurav loves writing and tech. So, after engineering, he didn't look back and embarked on a journey to become a tech writer. Saurav has worked for various tech websites across the globe. Saurav has recently joined Know Techie and is proud to be a part of it.

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