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WhatsApp Ads to Arrive Next Year, but Will It Affect End-to-end Encryption?

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Arising out of differences with Mark Zuckerberg, Brian Acton and Jan Koum have left Facebook. After the major social media company took over the messaging app, it was evident that Facebook would try to intrude into WhatsApp’s functioning. This came out of a certain interview with WhatsApp’s co-founder and speaks about why WhatsApp is still getting ads and further throws light on the dealings with encryption.

The idea to bring ads to Facebook comes from the fact that Facebook would try to recover the Return on Investment from the messaging app for which it has spent US$ 22 billion, and it plans to make a 10 billion revenue run rate within five years, according to the report on monetization made by Forbes. This will start next year, and the major problem lies in the fact that Koum and Acton 2014 had signed the handing over agreement based on an idea of no pressure for revenue generation in 5 years from Facebook. Thus Facebook failed to work according to the agreement.

Thus the first step towards earning this revenue was in the form of linking Facebook and WhatsApp through phone numbers. This did not work out, and Facebook had to pay a US$122 million the fine for removing this new feature from the mediums. WhatsApp customers were not shown ads in their Facebook profiles, which was a huge monetary loss for Facebook.

However, Facebook exposed the messaging app to ads in the chat boxes, making it open to business. However, the direct threat to such ads came from the security procedures involved in end-to-end encryption. Thus, Facebook would not commercialize the messaging in WhatsApp; thus, from the chat box, they targetted the new Status space in the app. This shall happen next year, adding more business analytical tool.

There is huge anxiety over the fact that if ads come flowing in, there will be a security breach pertaining to end-to-end encryption. But a WhatsApp spokesperson mentioned that these are just Status ads that will come to WhatsApp and that the encryption will be unaltered. “There are no plans to change that.”

For now, Facebook cannot take the risk of ruling out end-to-end encryption for fear of being answerable to its users and also lawmakers. So the encryption can be believed to be safe, even now. Thus the COO of Facebook, Sheryl Sandberg, did not get into the complication of answering the lawmakers in the US directly when asked about encryption and just gave a passing mention that they believe in the process that ensures maximum security.

The new Facebook advertisement feature is spotted on the app for iOS, meaning the platform is already working on the new feature.

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