WhatsApp Likely To Be Monetised By Advertisements To Meet E2E Encryption Costs

| September 28 , 2018 , 14:35 IST

WhatsApp, easily the most popular instant messaging platform in India, was launched with the assurance of no ads, but that may soon change, as Facebook, which acquired WhatsApp in 2014, said that monetisation may soon be required to meet costs of End-to-End (E2E) encryption.

Alex Stamos, Chief Security Officer of Facebook in a series of tweets said that to maintain end-to-end encryption in multi-billion user platforms especially in the US, European Union and India to prevent corporations or governments from reading the content, monetisation was required.

"This might make me a radical in 2018, but I believe that people deserve to be able to communicate with one another without a corporation or government reading or censoring that communication," Stamos said.

"If we want that right to be extended to people around the world, that means that E2E encryption needs to be deployed inside of multi-billion user platforms. That requires two things to happen: 1) We need to keep E2E encryption legal in the financially relevant jurisdictions. That includes the US, the EU, and India at a minimum," he said.

"We need to find a sustainable business model for professionally-run E2E encrypted communication platforms," Stamos said.  

"FB has a lot of money," Stamos admitted, and said, "but it is foolish to expect that FB shareholders are going to subsidize a free text/voice/video global communications network forever. Eventually, WhatsApp is going to need to generate revenue."

"This could come from directly charging for the service, it could come from advertising, it could come from a WeChat-like services play. The first is very hard across countries, the latter two are complicated by E2E," he said.

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"Those of us who care about privacy shouldn’t see WhatsApp monetization as something evil. In fact, we should want WA to demonstrate that E2E and revenue are compatible. That’s the only way E2E will become a sustainable feature of massive, non-niche technology platforms," Stamos said.

Meanwhile, a popular WhatsApp leaks portal has claimed that they have come across WhatsApp testing advertisements inside the 'Stories' feature on its app, similar to Instagram.