Facebook ditches plan to place ads in WhatsApp – for now

Over the last few years, Facebook has been slowly adding a plethora of platforms to its portfolio — from FriendFeed and Oculus VR to Instagram. And since acquiring WhatsApp in 2014, the social media giant has rarely integrated many major changes aside from the occasional software update or new tool — but last year the social media giant announced that it is gearing up to allow businesses to advertise on WhatsApp.

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According to a tweet posted at the Facebook Marketing Summit, the company will ‘bring Story Ads in 2020’.

“People and businesses are finding WhatsApp a great way to connect. In the months ahead people will be able to see a business catalogue right within WhatsApp,” says Facebook. “With catalogues, businesses can showcase their goods so people can easily discover them.”

The announcement was met with great anticipation from businesses and brands as well as serious hesitation from consumers and even WhatsApp’s founders. In fact, a report released by TechWeez details how the decision ” to sell ads in WhatsApp led to WhatsApp founders eventually resigning from Facebook. It started with Brian Acton who quit in November 2017 and Jan Koum left shortly after in April 2018.”

And now it looks as though Facebook is putting it’s ‘in WhatsApp’ advertising plans on hold. The WSJ reports “Facebook Inc. is backing away from efforts to sell ads in WhatsApp, in a retreat from a controversial plan that drove the creators of the popular messaging service to resign more than 18 months ago, according to people familiar with the matter”.

The company has even gone so far as to  “disbanded a team that had been established to find the best ways to integrate ads into the service. The team’s work was then deleted from WhatsApp’s code”.

There’s no official word on whether this means Facebook won’t introduce ads at a later stage or if it will simply place them within the Status feature.

Edited by Jenna Delport

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