Will Cathcart, the head of WhatsApp , refuted a report by the Financial Times suggesting that the messaging platform, owned by Meta Platforms (formerly known as Facebook), was considering implementing ads to increase its revenue. In a post on the social media platform X (formerly Twitter), Cathcart dismissed the report as false.
According to the report, teams within Meta were discussing the possibility of displaying ads within lists of conversations on the WhatsApp chat screen, involving contacts. However, sources familiar with the matter reported that no final decisions had been made. The report also mentioned that Meta was contemplating the option of charging a subscription fee to offer an ad-free version of the app.
In response to the report, WhatsApp stated to the FT that they could not verify every internal discussion within the company, but they were not actively testing or working on such a plan. The FT report also highlighted that many company insiders opposed the idea of introducing ads on WhatsApp.
As of the time of the report, Meta had not responded to a request from Reuters for comment. Facebook acquired WhatsApp, which had been a free chat app, in 2014 for a staggering $19 billion.
Meta has been striving to increase revenue from WhatsApp, with CEO Mark Zuckerberg stating that WhatsApp and Messenger would be pivotal to the company’s future sales growth. He suggested that business messaging would likely become a significant pillar of Meta’s business.
WhatsApp’s Business application had attracted over 200 million users on its platform as of June of the current year, marking a four-fold increase from approximately three years ago.