Attention, WhatsApp users!
Come 2019, the messaging platform will be introducing a new feature: targeted commercial ads.
Despite WhatsApp's company motto previously being "No ads, no games, no gimmicks," Facebook's USD22 billion acquisition of WhatsApp in 2014 has changed the game.
In a Twitter post, Facebook's former Chief Security Officer Alex Stamos explained that, "It is foolish to expect that Facebook shareholders are going to subsidise a free text/voice/video global communications network forever."
"Eventually, WhatsApp is going to need to generate revenue," he added.
WhatsApp's co-founder Brian Acton admitted that Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg's plans for monetisation through targeted advertising makes him "unhappy"
Acton, who left the company in 2017, has openly spoken out against prioritising profit over user privacy.
He explained that, "At every company that sells ads, a significant portion of their engineering team spends their day tuning data mining and writing better code to collect your personal data," Independent reported.
Details on the ads have yet to be revealed, although it has been reported that they will be short and likely to be interspersed between users' WhatsApp statuses
The Status feature, similar to Stories on Instagram and Facebook, allows users to upload photos and videos that can be viewed by their contacts for 24 hours.
According to theSun, a WhatsApp spokesperson confirmed that all messages would stay "end-to-end encrypted."
"Thanks to the team's relentless focus on building valuable features, WhatsApp is now an important part of over a billion people's lives, and we're excited about what the future holds," a Facebook spokesperson added.
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