Friday, September 15, 2023
Web Desk

WhatsApp boss Will Cathcart denies planning ads to boost revenue

Web Desk
This representational picture shows the WhatsApp logo on a screen full of codes. — Reuters/File
This representational picture shows the WhatsApp logo on a screen full of codes. — Reuters/File

WhatsApp head on Friday denied a report by the Financial Times (FT) which stated that the messaging platform owned by Meta Platforms was looking into including ads to increase revenue.

"This @FT story is false. We aren't doing this," WhatsApp head Will Cathcart said in a post on social media platform X, formerly known as Twitter.

The FT reported, citing people familiar with the situation, that teams at Meta were debating whether to display advertisements in lists of chats with contacts on the WhatsApp chat screen, but no decisions had been made regarding the debate.

According to FT, Meta was also considering whether to charge a membership fee for ad-free access to the app.

WhatsApp released a statement informing the FT that "we can't account for every conversation someone had in our company but we are not testing this, working on it, and it's not our plan at all."

According to Reuters, the report also said that many company insiders were against WhatsApp's alleged latest move.

Meanwhile, Meta has not made any comment about the FT report or Cathcart's claims.

However, Meta recently announced that it was expanding WhatsApp Channels — a broadcast service that lets users receive private updates from celebrities, sports teams, and thought leaders — to over 150 countries in a push to shore up engagement across its platforms.

WhatsApp Channels will be available globally in the coming weeks and months. Anyone with a WhatsApp account will be able to create a channel on the app.

In 2014, Meta's Facebook paid $19 billion to acquire WhatsApp, a chat programme that has always been available for free and the goal of Meta has already been to increase WhatsApp revenue.

Business communications are "probably going to be the next major pillar" of Meta's business, according to CEO Mark Zuckerberg's prediction made last year that WhatsApp and Messenger would propel the company's next wave of sales development.

As of June of this year, WhatsApp's Business application served more than 200 million users on its network, a four-fold increase from around three years earlier.