It has been roughly ten days since we began fearing WhatsApp’s plan of introducing ads to its iOS app and before we know it, it appears that WhatsApp beta for Android has already seen the introduction of ads in the status section.
A close watcher of everything WhatsApp, WABetaInfo reports that WhatsApp is implementing ads for the Status feature in WhatsApp beta for Android version 2.18.305. The feature is disabled for the time being and may not be visible to viewers but it is definitely there for future roll-out.
It seems to have taken Facebook four years too long to make money out of its acquisition of WhatsApp, but it is finally here. Knowing how many people use the app, Facebook’s business is likely to boom very soon.
WhatsApp beta for Android 2.18.305: WhatsApp is implementing in this version ads for Status.
They are not visible yet and the feature will be enabled in future.
— WABetaInfo (@WABetaInfo) October 5, 2018
Implementation of ads questions privacy. WhatsApp says it cannot access your data because of a promised end-to-end encryption for all users. However, by simple logic, playing ads will require WhatsApp to access that data so that ads can be targeted. Ads cannot be practically relevant without any consumer data.
As per a report by The Wall Street Journal from August, WhatsApp was expected to show ads in its status feature starting 2019. While that might still be true, the fear of Facebook calling the shots here is certainly a proposition which may force many to switch away from WhatsApp. As noted in the report, the ads will be powered by Facebook’s native advertising system and will “help familiarise users with business” on WhatsApp.
WhatsApp is yet to come out and mention anything publicly but with the number of reports beginning to gush in lately, things don’t look too sunny for those hoping to continue messaging on WhatsApp for its end-to-end encryption.