WhatsApp users could soon see a shock change be made to the chat app.
WhatsApp is the world’s most popular chat app, with over 1.5billion users each and every month.
This year alone WhatsApp users have seen plenty of changes, with the introduction of stickers and group video calling among other new features.
And now WhatsApp users could be about to see arguably the biggest change to the Facebook-owned chat app in years.
WhatsApp users are bracing themselves for the addition of adverts to the chat app in 2019.
Earlier this year it emerged that WhatsApp were planning on displaying adverts in the Status section.
The news emerged after WhatsApp co-founder Brian Acton revealed he left Facebook over a disagreement on how to monetise WhatsApp.
The 46-year-old claimed Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg and other executives wanted to send targeted adverts at users.
WhatsApp users will be seeing a big change come into force soon
However, this was not an approach Acton agreed with, with WhatsApp having prided itself for many years on being ad-free.
Speaking to Forbes, he said: “At the end of the day, I sold my company. I sold my users’ privacy to a larger benefit.
“I made a choice and a compromise. I live with that every day.”
Acton said Facebook also wanted to sell businesses tools to talk to WhatsApp users, something he also did not agree with.
WhatsApp is the world’s most popular chat app
Acton added: “Targeted advertising is what makes me unhappy.”
And in the aftermath of these comments a WhatsApp spokesperson said that the chat app would begin displaying adverts in its Status feature next year.
Later on, WhatsApp vice president Chris Daniels also spoke about the monetisation plans for the chat app.
He said: “We are going to be putting ads in ‘Status’.
“That is going to be primary monetisation mode for the company as well as an opportunity for businesses to reach people on WhatsApp.”
WhatsApp has over 1.5billion users each and every month
It has not been revealed when in 2019 WhatsApp will be rolling out the Status adverts.
This change will mark a huge first for WhatsApp, with the chat app having prided itself on remaining ad-free.
And a number of fans on Twitter have already hit out at the decision.
One fan tweeted: “WhatsApp Status will start showing Ads from 2019. R. I. P. WhatsApp.”
Another posted: “The moment I see an advertisement on my whatsapp, I’m uninstalling it.
“Monetising every damn thing.”
WhatsApp looks set to introduce adverts next year
And one wrote: “WhatsApp is inventing (sic) ads in 2019…*** off”.
A blog post written by WhatsApp co-founder Jan Koum on the chat app’s website explains the reasons the co-founders wanted to keep it ad-free.
The post was written prior to the Facebook acquisition at a time when WhatsApp was still a paid-for service.
It said: “These days companies know literally everything about you, your friends, your interests, and they use it all to sell ads.
WhatsApp adverts will appear in the Status feature
“When we sat down to start our own thing together three years ago we wanted to make something that wasn’t just another ad clearinghouse.
“We wanted to spend our time building a service people wanted to use because it worked and saved them money and made their lives better in a small way.
“We knew that we could charge people directly if we could do all those things. We knew we could do what most people aim to do every day: avoid ads.
“No one wakes up excited to see more advertising, no one goes to sleep thinking about the ads they’ll see tomorrow.
WhatsApp – It will mark the first time the chat app has featured adverts
“We know people go to sleep excited about who they chatted with that day (and disappointed about who they didn’t).
“We want WhatsApp to be the product that keeps you awake… and that you reach for in the morning.
“No one jumps up from a nap and runs to see an advertisement.”