Facebook has put the kibosh on plans to sell advertisements on WhatsApp, though the move might be temporary.
The Wall Street Journal, quoting people familiar with the matter, reported that the team building the advertising system were disbanded and their work deleted from WhatsApp’s code.
It added that although Facebook still intends to eventually run ads through WhatsApp’s Status feature, users would be spared from ads for a while longer.
The source revealed that the temporary reversal on advertising had led Facebook to look at creating new WhatsApp features to allow businesses to communicate directly with customers and organise them as contacts.
The Star had earlier reported that Facebook intended to roll out ads this year as a “feature”, called Status Ads.
The ads would take up the whole screen and, much like Instagram Story ads, users can access more information by swiping up.
Like Instagram Stories, WhatsApp’s Status feature allows ephemeral broadcasting of text, photos and videos that disappear after 24 hours.
WhatsApp is estimated to have more than 1.5 billion global users and has been ad-free since being released 11 years ago.
Facebook acquired WhatsApp six years ago for US$19bil (RM79.47bil) and it appears that the social media giant is finally trying to monetise the app.
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