There’s a lot going on over at the Facebook-owned outfits. Instagram’s founders have bounced, there’s been another (huge) data breach, and Facebook is starting to use phone numbers for advertising — let’s add another item to the pile, this one concerned with WhatsApp.
Facebook’s WhatsApp is set to start getting advertising soon, starting with the iOS version of the app. That’s not official, that’s based on a couple of reports — one of which is from WABetaInfo, which has been quite good at spotting what’s coming down the road for the messaging service.
And I want to add: WhatsApp is already working to implement ads in the iOS app. https://t.co/eL55pu1kFR
— WABetaInfo (@WABetaInfo) September 27, 2018
It seems that Facebook will be using the Status section of WhatApp to display ads, which will be similar to those found in Instagram’s Stories format. Data for targeted advertising will either pull information from what you’re talking about most often, or by grabbing the info on a linked Facebook account. It makes sense — if Facebook’s looking to serve ads based on phone numbers on Facebook, it’d be quite simple to serve those same ads to a WhatsApp account with the same phone number. Or, you know, just spy on what you’re talking about and giving you ads that way.
While none of this is official, it does seem that it was inevitable. Facebook paid a large amount of money for WhatsApp and there’s no way that they’re not going to try to monetise it. They’ve mostly been trying to find a way to do that that won’t make the service haemorrhage users and one way is to kinda… sneak up on us. But we may be reaching the point where sneaking is done and we just get ads and less user privacy, whether we like it or not.
It could be time to look at alternative options when it comes to messaging. The competition has its faults (and a leak or two of their own. Looking at you, Telegram) but they do have one thing in their favour — they’re not owned by Facebook. Yet, we guess.