Facebook will no longer pursue plans to include ads in WhatsApp, according to a report from the Wall Street Journal (WSJ).
The publication cited people familiar with the matter, who said the team assigned to determine the best ways to integrate ads into WhatsApp had been disbanded.
The sources added that the WhatsApp code the team had been working on for the feature was deleted.
It is not clear why the company decided to discontinue this work, and WhatsApp did not provide a statement on the cancellation.
Since Facebook acquired WhatsApp in 2014, multiple reports have surfaced about possible plans to monetize the platform. In October 2018, WhatsApp vice president Chris Daniels said that adverts within the app’s Status feature would be the “primary monetization mode for the company”.
In May 2019, it was revealed that Facebook was going to include Stories ads within WhatsApp’s Status feature back in May 2019. Facebook’s push to brings ads to WhatsApp was reported to be a major reason for the resignations of its founders Jan Koum and Brian Acton in 2018.
The pair amended WhatsApp’s Terms of Service in 2016 to ban the displaying of ads in the app completely.
Although Facebook could easily change these terms, it would have to send formal notifications of changes, which would likely evoke feelings of discontent among its users.