WhatsApp is getting ads, but it's not as bad as you think

It looks like your chats are safe

WhatsApp on iPhone
(Image credit: Rik Henderson / Future)

WhatsApp is something millions of us use every day, and of course, it is owned by Meta. Compared to Instagram and Facebook, however, it is surprisingly chill about ads. There has long been talk of adding them to the platform, and while it's looking likely they will arrive sooner rather than later, there is some good news. 

Speaking to Brazilian outlet Folha De S.Paulo, Head of WhatsApp Will Cathcart reassured users that their "messaging experience" aka their chats and inboxes, will remain ad-free. This is especially important considering WhatsApp's focus on privacy and comes as a genuine relief. No one wants to be spammed with paid messages.

It looks like the app hasn't completely dodged the advertising bullet however with Cathcart hinting that other areas could carry ads. This is likely to be in the channels feature and WhatsApp statuses, but to be honest, that's not a problem. Pretty much everyone I know is on WhatsApp, and I'm not sure I've ever been asked to look at someone's WhatsApp status, that's more of an Instagram thing. Booting up the app, 90% of people I know have either left their status as the default or not changed it in years.   

The WhatsApp Chat Lock feature shown in use

(Image credit: Meta)

As for the channels feature, it's a pretty new addition to WhatsApp and maybe I'm showing my age, but I don't really see much use for it. These one-sided conversations are pretty flat (except for the T3 one of course) so if WhatsApp wants to flood them with ads or charge users to join then be my guest. 

Fundamentally, with plenty of other messaging apps out there, WhatsApp can't go too mad with the ads or else risk driving users to other platforms, so don't expect a Twitter-style exodus away from those who refuse to pay for a "WhatsApp Premium." Ads are part of modern life, but no one wants to see them everywhere. It looks like Threads will eventually get ads too. 

Andy Sansom
Staff Writer

Andy is T3's Tech Staff Writer, covering all things technology, including his biggest passions such as gaming, AI, phones, and basically anything cool and expensive he can get his hands on. If he had to save one possession from a fire it would be his PlayStation 5. He previously worked for Tom’s Guide - where he got paid to play with ChatGPT every day. When it comes to streaming, Andy will have his headphones glued in whilst watching something that will make him laugh. He studied Creative Writing at university, but also enjoys supporting his favourite football team (Liverpool), watching F1, teaching himself guitar, and spending time with his dog.