WhatsApp not introducing ads, boss Will Cathcart says

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The head of WhatsApp refuted a Financial Times (FT) report on Friday that claimed the messaging service, which is owned by Meta Platforms, was considering the addition of adverts to boost revenue.

Will Cathcart addressed the issue on Elon Musk-owned X, formerly known as Twitter while reposting the report by FT and saying: “This @FT story is false. We aren’t doing this.” 

According to FT sources that are familiar with the situation, Meta’s teams were debating whether to display advertisements in WhatsApp chat lists with contacts, but no decisions have been made. 

The report also suggested that the company was also considering charging a membership fee for ad-free access to the app.

Later, 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 Geo News, the report also said that many company insiders were against WhatsApp’s alleged latest move. However, Meta has not made any comment about the FT report or Cathcart’s claims.

Meta has recently expanded WhatsApp Channels, a broadcast service that allows users to receive private updates from celebrities, sports teams, and thought leaders, to over 150 countries to boost engagement on its platforms. The service will be available globally in the coming weeks and months.

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.

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