Remember, how aggressively Facebook has been pushing you to add your mobile number to your account for the last many months? Reasoning as an important security measure to protect and recover your account from any possible hacking in the future, Facebook is able to convince the majority of its users to surrender their mobile number. Though Facebook was accused of misusing those numbers last year, the company never stopped exercising such shady practice.
More than a billion of suspecting users added their mobile number without realising what’s is Facebook up to. Looks like the actual game plan of Facebook to leverage on those collected numbers will begin soon.
Since the time Facebook acquired WhatsApp for $22 billion, there have been various debates about the prime objective of social media giant behind such acquisition. Most of the people are convinced that the massive users base of WhatsApp would be monetised through ads given to the fact that ads have been the primary source of revenue for Facebook. However, it’s been over 6 years and WhatsApp ads are yet to debut. But, apparently, things are about to change.
WhatsApp, over the years, has become one of the most popular cross-platform instant messaging apps around the globe. Over 2 billion users worldwide are hooked to WhatsApp on a monthly basis. However, if it will be able to retain its user base post being bombarded with targeted advertisements like its parent company Facebook is a question that needs answering.
A recent report claims that the Facebook-owned messaging giant WhatsApp is all set to serve advertisement to their users. For a very long time, Whatsapp has been completely free to download and use along with having no in-app ads. But now, all of that might just change in the near future.
Now, the latest report suggested that these advertisements wouldn’t be interrupting regular chats on the platform as they will primarily be served via WhatsApp’s ‘status update’ option. Also, as of now, it is being speculated to be more or less similar to Facebook and Instagram story ads.
WhatsApp was supposed to roll out the ads option last year during spring, however, Mark Zuckerberg the CEO of its parent company Facebook put a temporary halt on it because he feared “antagonising regulators”.
At that point in time, Facebook was still in hot water due to the entire Cambridge Analytica fiasco for which it had to end up paying the Federal Trade Commission aka FTC a hefty fine of $5 billion.
The report also highlighted that because Whatsapp’s chats are end-to-end encrypted, Facebook may be making use of the collected phone number that is linked to the WhatsApp account to determine a match with a Facebook account to serve personalised and targeted ads. Indeed, it’s quite a scary combination when it comes to link users’ social behaviour with messaging behaviour by combing with the help of mobile number.
Generally, people use WhatsApp in a quite different way than their social media identity. The discussion, chat, the information they share on WhatsApp is more personalised and sensitive than the information shared on Facebook. By combining both types of behavioural data, Facebook could easily have an access to each and every corner of your personal life, be it buying, interacting, engaging, travelling or any kind of activity in your life. And by selling this to advertisers it could lead to another disaster for users – something similar to how Cambridge Analytica used such traced data.
Undoubtedly, when rolled out for WhatsApp, it can help Facebook mint a lot more money in ad revenue because of the massive userbase of WhatsApp worldwide. Just to put things in context, in Q4 2019, the social media giant racked up $20,736 million from ad revenue alone.
However, whether people will be comfortable using this the messaging platform post ads is still questionable as everyone is already aware of Facebook’s dubious past related to privacy issues.
That being said, there still might be a lot of time left until this becomes a reality. In another report, a Facebook spokesperson recently said that we are nowhere close to seeing ads on the WhatsApp platform anytime soon, however, ads are definitely one of Facebook’s long term vision for the instant messaging platform.
How Can Users Opt-Out Of Future Personalised Ads On WhatsApp?
Now, if you are one among the many people who don’t trust the social media giant because of its infamous past, we get you. However, you can take some measurers right away if you do not wish to give up on WhatsApp later on because of being targeted with personalised ads by Facebook. It’s is very simple. You just need to navigate to your Facebook account settings and then delete your mobile phone number from there which you also use for WhatsApp. After this, Facebook wouldn’t be able to identify your profile across both platforms as one which means you won’t be served with personalised ads on the messaging platform.
In saying so, note that this wouldn’t help you from not seeing ads on the WhatsApp platform altogether though. This will just help you opt-out of personalised and retargeted ads. For more information on how exactly to do it step-by-step, you can use this official Facebook resource guide here.