Facebook-owned instant messaging service WhatsApp has already confirmed that it will start showing ads to users through its status feature sometime in 2019. It seems WhatsApp may already be working to bring ads to the iOS version of the app. The same may be true about Android as well. WABetaInfo reports that "WhatsApp is already working to implement ads in the iOS app," without quoting an exact time-frame when iOS users will start seeing ads in status.
Facebook acquired WhatsApp in 2014, but at that time, it had said that WhatsApp will continue to function independently. WhatsApp had meanwhile reiterated that it had absolutely no intention of bringing ads to the chat platform. Now it has come to light -- through WhatsApp co-founder Brian Acton -- that Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg had already talked about ads before acquiring the chat platform, though he had promised that WhatsApp would remain ad-free -- and in turn, monetisation-free -- for the first five years. The decision to bring ads to the platform in 2019, it now seems like, was already part of the plan.
For now, WhatsApp will only show ads through status and quite possibly the service would show them on the lines of a certain Instagram. This means, users may see an ad in status, after they've seen a number of them simultaneously. But it isn't exactly clear if ads on WhatsApp will also be targeted. In simple terms, it isn't known if WhatsApp parent company will be collecting user data to show users targeted ads. The nature of WhatsApp messages -- because they are end-to-end encrypted -- does not give Facebook the leverage to access user data based on their chats but it may go about collecting data in other ways.
Facebook may use a user's Facebook activity to show relevant ads provided they've shared their contact number with the platform. There can also be a possibility that it may use shadow profiling in order to serve users who have never signed up for Facebook targeted ads.
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