WhatsApp remains the world’s most popular instant messaging platform, boasting 1.6 billion users. Since Facebook bought out WhatsApp in 2014, the social media giant has always wanted to monetise WhatsApp.
Brian Acton and Jan Koum, WhatsApp’s founder and co-founder reportedly left the company in 2018 for this reason.
Mr Koum and Mr Acton were apparently concerned a commercial messaging feature would force WhatsApp to weaken its famed end-to-end encryption feature.
There were rumours last year Facebook intended to introduce targeted adverts in WhatsApp.
WhatsApp users, however, were quick to communicate their dissatisfaction with this move to monetise.
The adverts never came to fruition and WhatsApp went silent on this issue until last Sunday.
Recent reports suggest Facebook is “backing away” from earlier plans to sell ads for placement inside WhatsApp.
The Wall Street Journal reported the Facebook team working on incorporating ads into WhatsApp was disbanded in recent months, with their work subsequently “deleted from WhatsApp’s code.”
Facebook bought WhatsApp back in 2014 to tap into the messaging platform’s popularity and inject huge revenue for the company.
Back then, WhatsApp was generating around $20 million (£15.3 million annually by charging $1 per year subscription fee in certain regions.
WhatsApp removed subscription fees in 2016 as part of a shift towards impending monetisation plans from Facebook by introducing adverts in message streams.
Facebook is instead shifting focus onto WhatsApp features “allowing businesses to communicate with customers and organise those contacts.”
WhatsApp charges a small fee per message to arrange these conversations.
No figures are available for how much WhatsApp earns in revenue worldwide.
Whether WhatsApp introduces these ads to the general public or resorts to a different business model remains to be seen.
Is it free to send messages over WhatsApp?
WhatsApp uses your phone’s Internet connection (4G, 3G or Wi-Fi) to send and receive messages to your friends and family.
WhatsApp wrote in a statement: “You don’t have to pay for every message.
“As long as you haven’t exceeded your data limit or you’re connected to a free Wi-Fi network, your carrier shouldn’t charge you extra for messaging over WhatsApp.
“If your phone is roaming, additional mobile data charges may apply.
“If you send SMS messages to your friends inviting them to use WhatsApp, service charges from your mobile provider may also apply.”