Facebook has reportedly scrapped plans to sell advertising on WhatsApp.
According to a new report from The Wall Street Journal, the company has over the past month “disbanded” its team that was working on WhatsApp advertising, deploying them to different parts of the Facebook company instead.
In addition to disbanding the team, the work that had been done to bring new adverts into WhatsApp has been removed from the code, suggesting that this is a long-term strategy and that Facebook won’t change its mind in the near future.
The news comes as a surprise to many Facebook fans and critics, who had been adamant that the company would introduce advertising to the platform to unlock yet another revenue stream and generate an income from its most popular app, with WhatsApp having billions of users around the world.
WhatsApp once charged users a dollar per year for the service, but when Facebook acquired the brand, dropped the charge and said it could introduce advertising in the future to allow the company to monetize the popular platform.
When Facebook confirmed last year that it was bringing advertising to WhatsApp, the company’s two founders, Jan Koum and Brian Acton, who stayed on at the company to assist with its direction, quit the organization in a dramatic fashion.
However, there is still a way the company could introduce advertising into the platform. Its Status function, similar to Instagram and Snaphat Stories, will see advertisements in the coming months, though this is a long-term ambition.
Facebook has already confirmed it will merge WhatsApp, Instagram, and Facebook Messenger in 2020, allowing consumers to chat cross-platform.
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