Could this be Facebook’s plan for making money out of WhatsApp users?
WhatsApp co-founder Brian Acton has shed some light on the inner workings of Facebook, in an interview in which he was − once again − fairly critical of the social media firm.
Acton, who left Facebook last year, has told Forbes that the company had been weighing up two different methods for making money out of WhatsApp.
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The first of these was revealed last month. From 2019, the Wall Street Journal reports, WhatsApp will start displaying ads inside its Status feature.
“The company will introduce new ad types to let users know they can text companies directly via WhatsApp for any customer-service queries instead of calling,” the report says.
“WhatsApp will charge companies between a half a penny and 9 cents − depending on the country − for every message delivered to a potential customer, a spokesman said.”
Acton says Facebook had also wanted to make money from WhatsApp through the sale of analytics tools to businesses, though the messaging app’s use of end-to-end encryption apparently makes this impossible.
However, WhatsApp messages aren’t always protected in this way.
In August, WhatsApp and Google struck up an agreement that means WhatsApp backups will soon no longer eat into your Google Drive storage quota. However, any media and messages you back up in this way won’t be protected by WhatsApp end-to-end encryption.
Acton sold WhatsApp to Facebook for $19 billion in 2014. “I am a sellout. I acknowledge that,” he says of the business deal.
“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. And I live with that every day.”
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In the wake of the Cambridge Analytical scandal, he famously sent out the following tweet:
At the time of publication, it’s his most recent update on the micro-blogging site.
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