Whatsapp set for 2019 New Year ‘status ad’ update that’s already upset users

WhatsApp is preparing to roll out a new feature that’s so divisive people are already worried about the changes it’s going to bring to bear on their lives.

Next year, the world’s most popular messaging app will unleash an update which is believed to have contributed to a dramatic split between WhatsApp’s founders and their overlord Mark Zuckerberg.

Brian Acton and Jan Koum, two former Yahoo employees who founded the app in 2009 are now massively rich after selling their app to Facebook $19 billion in 2014.

In the past two years, they both left the company and it seems that the decisions came after Zuck and his team decided on a business strategy which directly contradicts a long-standing promise made by Whatsapp.

Picture: Getty
Whatsapp planning to introduce a very controversial New Year update in 2019

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Way back in 2012, WhatsApp vowed it would never introduce advertising on the app or gather vast amounts of data on its users.

‘Remember, when advertising is involved you the user are the product,’ it wrote in a blog post.

‘Advertising isn’t just the disruption of aesthetics, the insults to your intelligence and the interruption of your train of thought. At every company that sells ads, a significant portion of their engineering team spends their day tuning data mining, writing better code to collect all your personal data, upgrading the servers that hold all the data and making sure it’s all being logged and collated and sliced and packaged and shipped out.’

‘And at the end of the day the result of it all is a slightly different advertising banner in your browser or on your mobile screen.’

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WhatsApp added: ‘These days companies know literally everything about you, your friends, your interests, and they use it all to sell ads.

‘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.’

This is all about to change.

Next year, the app will introduce ‘status ads’ which appear in the Instagram and Facebook-style feature which allows users post text, photos, videos and animated GIFs that appear to friends and then disappear after 24 hours.

WhatsApp vice president Chris Daniels spoke about the plans earlier this year and 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.’

On Twitter, people slammed the update and even threatened to swap to a different app.

Georgie Bingham, a Talk Radio Host, tweeted: ‘What a surprise. Facebook buys WhatsApp – saying they won’t change it – then get greedy and decide they’ll put adverts on it, against its founders’ wishes. Awesome. Greedy ****s. Like they haven’t done enough bad shit lately.’

‘RIP WhatsApp,’ one person wrote.

‘Facebook is monetising every damn thing.’

‘I will uninstall it the moment I see an ad,’ another added.

Founder Brian Acton has previously said he does not agree with the way Facebook works.

In an interview with Forbes earlier this year, he said: ‘Targeted advertising is what makes me unhappy.’

He said Facebook ‘represents a set of business practices, principles and ethics, and policies that I don’t necessarily agree with’.

‘At the end of the day, I sold my company,’ he went on. ‘I sold my users’ privacy to a larger benefit.’


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