Facebook has confirmed that ads will be coming to WhatsApp in 2020, as part of the app's 'Statuses'.
The announcement came at Facebook's annual Facebook Marketing Summit in the Netherlands, with slides showing how ads will look within the app photographed by attendee and head of media at Be Connect digital marketing agency, Olivier Ponteville.
You can see the photos for yourself in the tweet below, shared by social media commentator, Matt Navarra.
Coming Soon to @WhatsApp...- WhatsApp Status (Stories) to get Ads in 2020- WhatsApp for Businesses to get richer messaging format options- WhatsApp product catalog to be integrated with existing Facebook Business Manager catalogh/t + 📸 @Olivier_Ptv at #FMS19 pic.twitter.com/Z5LsbADNbPMay 21, 2019
Like Instagram's Stories feature, WhatsApp Statuses take up the entire screen when you click on them, and according to WhatsApp, allows you to "share text, photos, videos and animated GIFs that disappear after 24 hours".
Judging from the images shared from the event, ads too will take up your entire screen as you click through your friends' Statuses.
However, instead of showing the name of the contact who shared the Status at the top of your screen, you'll find the name of company behind the advert.
According to BGR, you can then "swipe up when an ad appears for more information about the product or service being advertised" – if it appeals, of course.
Whether WhatsApp users will take kindly to adverts intruding on their time scrolling through the app remains to be seen; after all, the messaging app's calling card is its end-to-end message encryption, and if Facebook ends up harvesting data from these ads, WhatsApp may not seem quite as privacy-friendly as it used to.
That perception won't be helped by the recent WhatsApp hack, which saw users across the world fall victim to a security bug that allowed hackers to remotely install spyware on users' smartphones.