WhatsApp adverts: Boss responds to report that commercials could be introduced

The head of WhatsApp has dismissed a report that the world’s most popular messaging service could introduce adverts as “false”.

The Financial Times has reported that teams at WhatsApp’s parent company Meta have been discussing the prospect of displaying adverts in lists of conversations with contacts.

The report said The Financial Times had spoken to three people familiar with the matter and that while no final decisions had been made, the concept had been “debated at a high level within the company”.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

It said that the potential feature would see adverts appear next to chats with friends and relations rather than within the conversations themselves. A source “with close knowledge of the internal discussions” said the adverts would be appear in a similar way to those shown on Gmail email accounts and on Facebook Messenger.

WhatsApp has denied claims that adverts may be introduced to its app.WhatsApp has denied claims that adverts may be introduced to its app.
WhatsApp has denied claims that adverts may be introduced to its app.

But Will Cathcart, Head of WhatsApp at Meta, responded to the story on X, formerly known as Twitter.

He said: “This @FT story is false. We aren't doing this.”

A statement provided to the Financial Times by Meta added: “We can’t account for every conversation someone had in our company but we are not testing this, working on it and it is not our plan at all.”

Earlier this month, the European Union targeted WhatsApp owner Meta along with Apple, Amazon, Microsoft, Google parent Alphabet and TikTok parent ByteDance under new digital rules aimed at reining in the market power of online companies.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

The six companies were classed as online “gatekeepers” that must face the highest level of scrutiny under the 27-nation bloc’s Digital Markets Act.

The act amounts to a list of dos and don’ts that seeks to prevent tech giants from cornering new digital markets, with the threat of huge fines or even the possibility of a company break-up.

Related topics: