WhatsApp puts plans for ads in 'status' section on hold

WhatsApp is backing away for now from plans to introduce advertising to the chat service that have been simmering for years. Most recently, it was working on placing ads in the so-called "status" area, where users can share photos and videos with their WhatsApp contacts for a day. Now a spokesperson said on Friday that they still see this as a long-term opportunity - but there is no detailed timeline for it.

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Previously, the Wall Street Journal, the team that was supposed to work out the ad plans had been disbanded.

WhatsApp has long been struggling to find the right business model. The WhatsApp founders originally gave a categorical refusal to any advertising and originally wanted to finance the chat service via a subscription fee of one dollar per year. But then they sold the company to Facebook in 2014 in what ended up being a deal worth around $22 billion. The online network - which finances itself almost exclusively with advertising - bet on a free WhatsApp and took its time thinking about how to earn money with the chat service.

Current plans include charging businesses for additional features when they communicate with their customers via WhatsApp. Work is also underway to introduce a payment function in several countries.

Internal squabbling over ad plans is seen as a key trigger for the departure of WhatsApp founders Jan Koum and Brian Acton, who had initially stayed on board after the company was acquired by Facebook. (SDA)

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