Facebook plans to bring adverts to its WhatsApp messaging platform at some point in the future, according to a report by The Information. Earlier this year, Facebook suspended plans to add advertisements to WhatsApp and disbanded the team which was working on the project.
These adverts were to be implemented in the messaging app’s Status interface and would play between Status updates of the user’s contacts. According to The Information, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg reportedly suspended this plan to avoid attracting the ire of regulators.
However, the report stated that Facebook is still looking at bringing adverts to WhatsApp after it has unified its messaging applications. These adverts will reportedly link the user’s cellphone number to their Facebook account to determine which adverts to show in the messaging app.
Disagreement among executives
Facebook’s push to brings ads to WhatsApp was reported to be a major reason for the resignations of its founders Jan Koum and Brian Acton in 2018. The pair amended WhatsApp’s Terms of Service in 2016 to ban the displaying of ads in the app completely. Although Facebook could easily change these terms, it would have to send formal notifications of changes, which would likely evoke feelings of discontent among its users.
According to the Information, a number of Facebook executives remain concerned about the effects of introducing adverts to WhatsApp. Some executives are reportedly worried that introducing advertisements in WhatsApp linked to the user’s Facebook account could result in users deleting their Facebook accounts.
There is currently no expected launch date for WhatsApp adverts, with Facebook currently focusing on the unification of its messaging applications.
Fighting fake news on WhatsApp
One of the biggest problems facing WhatsApp at the moment is the proliferation of misinformation on the platform. Facebook has implemented a number of changes to address this issue, including limiting the forwarding of viral messages.
WhatsApp recently introduced a limit on its forwarding feature which ensures that viral messages can only be forwarded to one chat at a time. WhatsApp said that not all viral forwarding is bad, and it has seen users use the feature for reasons that are not harmful, and in some cases are even valuable – such as the sharing of important information.
“However, we’ve seen a significant increase in the amount of forwarding which users have told us can feel overwhelming and can contribute to the spread of misinformation,” said WhatsApp. We believe it’s important to slow the spread of these messages down to keep WhatsApp a place for personal conversation.
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