Edgar Cervantes / Android Authority
- WhatsApp head Will Cathcart has confirmed ads may be headed to the platform’s Status page and Channels.
- He promised the company wouldn’t pump ads into the main inbox.
WhatsApp head Will Cathcart has confirmed that the platform is working on showing ads to its users. Catchcart’s comments come weeks after he denied a Financial Times report claiming that the Meta-owned messaging service plans to host ads.
In an interview with a Brazillian publication, Cathcart reassured that WhatsApp users won’t see ads in their main inbox. However, advertisements and promotions may appear in places like the Status page and Channels.
Cathcart said that the company doesn’t think placing ads in the inbox is a suitable model. “When people open their inbox, they don’t want to see advertising.”
He went on to say that other places in the messaging service could be ripe for ads. “The reason I qualified the answer is that there could be ads in other places — channels or statuses. For instance, Channels might charge people to subscribe, they might be exclusive to paid members, or the owners might want to promote the channel. But, no, we won’t put ads in your inbox.”
Are you okay with seeing ads in WhatsApp Channels and on the Status page?
WhatsApp parent Meta first talked about pumping ads into the platform’s Status page in 2018. However, those plans were redacted in 2020, possibly because the company realized it was an unpopular business strategy. Even WhatsApp co-founder Brian Acton disagreed with the move to populate WhatsApp with ads. “I sold my users’ privacy to a larger benefit,” Acton commented in a 2018 interview with Forbes. “I made a choice and a compromise. And I live with that every day.”
Cathcart hasn’t confirmed when ads will hit WhatsApp or how the platform will ensure they don’t become a nuisance. It’s also unclear what data the platform will use to target ads at WhatsApp users since chats on the service are end-to-end encrypted.