WhatsApp to start displaying ads in chat list? Top exec responds

The report added that Meta was also deliberating whether to charge a subscription fee to use the app ad-free


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By Reuters

Published: Fri 15 Sep 2023, 9:43 AM

WhatsApp's top head on Friday denied a Financial Times report that said the Meta Platforms-owned messaging platform was exploring advertisements as it sought to boost revenue.

"This @FT story is false. We aren't doing this," WhatsApp head Will Cathcart said in a post on social media platform X, formerly known as Twitter.

The report said that teams at Meta were discussing whether to show ads in lists of conversations with contacts on the WhatsApp chat screen, but no final decisions had been made, citing people familiar with the matter.

FT added that Meta was also deliberating whether to charge a subscription fee to use the app ad-free.

In a statement, WhatsApp told 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."

FT also said many company insiders were against the move.

Meta did not immediately respond to a Reuters request for comment.

Facebook bought WhatsApp, which has always been a free chat app, in 2014 for $19 billion.

Meta has already been working to boost revenue from WhatsApp. CEO Mark Zuckerberg last year said that WhatsApp and Messenger would drive the company's next wave of sales growth, with business messaging "probably going to be the next major pillar" of Meta's business.

WhatsApp's Business application catered to more than 200 million users on its platform, as of June this year, a four-fold jump from about three years ago.

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