Updated: August 29, 2016 10:08:10 am
On the Facebook integration, one thing is clear: There will be some information sharing, although WhatsApp promises no messages or photos will be shared with Facebook. This is what WhatsApp says on the info-sharing with Facebook:
This information includes the device used, online status, usage and log information. WhatsApp carefully points out in the FAQ it won’t share any information ‘onto’ Facebook or other Facebook apps, but yes data-sharing will happen. The reasoning: To help improve ad experiences, to more accurately count unique users and fight spam and abuse. Exactly how Facebook ads will improve with WhatsApp information is left unclear, but there is more.
WhatsApp is also getting ready to welcome services such as banks, airlines on the app, an idea that has been discussed earlier as well. WhatsApp’s latest blog says this: These services are coming soon, and they will start testing it on the app. For WhatsApp, which has never actually made any money, and is still not serving ads, this is one way of generating revenue.
And yes it could make the app even more potent in its fight against SMS and other players, especially an app like Telegram. WhatsApp plans to be even more indispensable to the user by integrating services, rather than an app where people keep sharing ‘good morning messages’.
WhatsApp promises no spam, but the last bit in particular reads like advertising could be coming to the app, perhaps in a more subtle form. So yes, your bank or favourite e-commerce site might soon be interacting with you on WhatsApp, and don’t be surprised if they message about some cashback scheme or discount on your credit card. How well WhatsApp controls this kind of messaging will be watched closely. But it will mark a significant departure from how WhatsApp has been viewed, an app that was strictly about no ads.
But in cases where people’s profile photos are stolen to create another WhatsApp account, this might be a lot more useful, and it makes sense given the 1 billion users now on the app.
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