If WhatsApp Profits From Your Status Messages, Should You Worry?

Whatsapp VP Chris Daniels confirms the platform is looking to put ads in status messages. 

Tech News
2 min read
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WhatsApp is all set to show ads in ‘Status’ messages. This was confirmed by WhatsApp vice president Chris Daniels who met with India’s IT minister Ravi Shankar Prasad on 31 October. Daniels was meeting Prasad to discuss India's demand that WhatsApp help trace the origins of fake or malicious messages that have incited violence in the past.

So how does WhatsApp trying to monetise its platform affect you? The Facebook-owned messaging platform is looking for different avenues to start monetising its service. One of them is ads in the ‘Status’ message that users put up.

We are going to be putting ads in ‘Status’. That is going to be primary monetisation mode for the company as well as an opportunity for businesses to reach people on WhatsApp. 
Chris Daniels, vice-president WhatsApp
Whatsapp VP Chris Daniels confirms the platform is looking to put ads in status messages. 
WhatsApp CEO Chris Daniels and Union Electronics and Information Technology and Law and Justice Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad in New Delhi a few months ago.
Photo: IANS/Twitter/@rsprasad

WhatsApp, however, did not give any timeline to this development that has been in the news for some time. WhatsApp has over 1.5 billion users globally, including more than 250 million in India.

The “Status” feature allows users to share text, photos, videos and animated GIFs that disappear after 24 hours.

WhatsApp will likely add banner ads to status messages or even insert a full-screen status message of its own, much like Instagram stories and Facebook stories. So if you are scrolling through a list of status messages of your contacts, you may suddenly come across a sponsored status message as well.

According to media reports, the advertisements would be powered by Facebook's native advertising system and would be aimed at helping users understand and participate in businesses using the messaging app.

Apart from being slightly intrusive, it isn’t likely to affect your user experience on the platform. Sure, it will consume a few MBs more of data.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg's goal to monetise WhatsApp has forced the social media messaging service's co-founders to leave the company. One of them, Brian Acton, told Forbes recently that Zuckerberg was in a rush to make money from the messaging service and undermine elements of its encryption technology.

"Targeted advertising is what makes me unhappy," Acton had said.

Four years after its acquisition by Facebook for $19 billion (Rs 1.40 lakh crore), WhatsApp, which now has over 1.5 billion users (against Facebook's 2.3 billion), will reportedly carry targeted ads from 2019. The platform has been ad-free till date and is free-to-use for its subscribers as well.

(with inputs from IANS)

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