WhatsApp details, Facebook ads

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Before we go into the reason or reasons businesses would now be allowed to invade our WhatsApp chats, I guess it is only proper to get some facts out of the way first for those who don’t know.

WhatsApp details, Facebook ads

WhatsApp is owned by Facebook. And in case some missed the memo, Facebook is now a business determined to leverage on its almost 2 billion users to make as much money as possible.

And clearly, they are really making lots of money through ads on Facebook. And that is why Facebook is going all out to stop ads blockers from working on the platform. Ads are now their bread and butter.

Now Facebook is set to leverage the number of users on WhatsApp to make as much money as possible from the messaging app.

WhatsApp details, Facebook ads
Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook CEO

This should not be surprising as even Mark Zuckerberg, the CEO of Facebook, once claimed the right time to start making money from an app is when it reaches 1 billion users. Well whatsApp has already reached that mark. So it is now time to call in the checks.

Recall at the beginning of this year, Facebook canceled the $1 dollar annual subscription for WhatsApp and promised not to include ads. Up to this point, they kept that promise.

Been a business, there was this feeling the cancellation of the subscription must be leading up to something. It took a while for the master plan to be revealed. Now the world knows what the plan was in the first place.

It was clever in its simplicity. Cancel the annual subscription; make WhatsApp more secure: introduce better features to the app; then watch as more people flock to the app and get hooked to it. That has happened already as WhatsApp is far and away the number one messaging app in the world in terms of number of users.

WhatsApp details, Facebook ads

According to the announcement by Facebook, they are going to start sharing users’ WhatsApp details with Facebook, which would be made available to businesses. What this means is that for the purposes of more ads, your WhatsApp details would be given to businesses so they can send the so called targeted ads to you on Facebook.

For now, the statement by WhatsApp doesn’t say exactly how this is going to work. For instance, would WhatsApp users begin to see ads during WhatsApp chats? Facebook is not saying that directly.

Their statement is all a lot of corporate speak on how the changes would make WhatsApp a better platform for us all. If you are not tired of hearing that sort of message, I guess you’d never bothered with them before.

WhatsApp details, Facebook ads
Jan Koum, WhatsApp Founder

Not to seem as if they are forcing the changes on users (the way they did with Facebook Messenger), WhatsApp say the option to share your details with Facebook is optional. That is, you can chose not to allow Facebook to use your WhatsApp details. That is a nice touch.

But I hope when they decide to roll out the new feature at the end of the year, they won’t make it the default mode. While at the same time hiding the opt-out option somewhere in the settings section making, it difficult for users to find and activate. I won’t put that pass them.

I am willing to take a punt that in the future, Facebook would remove that opt-out option.

So now the mystery of why Facebook removed the annual subscription fee has being solved. Your WhatsApp user details are the trade off.

All we can do for know is wait till they begin testing the feature to know how it affects our chatting experience on WhatsApp. One advantage of been big and dominant is you can afford to implement an unpopular policy and get away with it.

Just like it happened to Messenger, I believe whatever they do with WhatsApp, the world wouldn’t have any choice but to accept the new regime.


image credit: techcrunch.com; express.co.uk; toptechnews.com; elpopular.com