This is both good and bad news for WhatsApp users, depending on how you feel about change.
Over the last few months, owners Facebook have been working on some “drastic changes” to the messaging app, which they plan on implementing soon.
If you weren’t aware that Facebook owns WhatsApp, welcome to the horror show. This might explain why anybody you’re on a WhatsApp group chat with keeps on popping up in the ‘people you may know’ section on Facebook.
Facebook has regularly rolled out additional features to WhatsApp, but over the last few months it has been working on more drastic changes to the messaging app.
These changes are set to be launched in the near future, and include the integration of advertisements into the platform, the launch of a dedicated Windows 10 app, and even the launch of a cryptocurrency for mobile payments.
We have detailed all the major changes coming to WhatsApp below.
Facebook is working to integrate adverts into WhatsApp in a way that will not impede user experience.
The company has said it will begin showing adverts on WhatsApp’s status page starting from the beginning of 2020.
“WhatsApp will bring Stories Ads in its status product in 2020,” an attendee of Facebook’s Marketing Summit tweeted in May 2019.
These status advertisements will be the primary monetisation method for the company, and would work similarly to Instagram’s Stories adverts.
In addition to these status adverts, Facebook also announced that it would begin integrating business catalogues into its platforms to allow WhatsApp users to browse products from within the app.
This feature would be added to chats between customers and businesses registered on WhatsApp, and Facebook said it is currently working on these new features as part of a general redesign.
Facebook has been working on a new cryptocurrency for a while now, which it aims to use as a digital payment feature for WhatsApp users.
The digital currency will allow WhatsApp users to send money to their friends and family across local and international borders.
Facebook has communicated with a number of cryptocurrency exchanges regarding the selling of its cryptocurrency, the underlying technology of which will exist on a network of decentralised computers.
There will be no mining mechanism built into the cryptocurrency’s design, and it will reportedly be built as a transactional currency and will not function as a store of value.
Facebook reportedly plans to launch its WhatsApp cryptocurrency this month, which could enable users of the messaging app to make mobile cross-border payments without being subject to high transaction fees and restrictions.
Facebook integration and QR codes
While Facebook and WhatsApp have historically remained relatively separate, the company has begun working on a new feature which will allow WhatsApp users to share their status updates to their Facebook page.
Once this feature is added, users who have Facebook installed on their smartphone and post a status update on WhatsApp will be presented with an “Add to Facebook Story” option.
It is important to note that this feature will not automatically post your statuses to your Facebook page, and will require manual authorisation from the user every time.
Another feature coming to WhatsApp is the ability to share contact details and add people as contacts by scanning or displaying an in-app QR code.
These features are under development for the Android and iOS versions of WhatsApp.
In addition to changing the way its application works with the upcoming implementation of cryptocurrency, advertisements, and Facebook integration, WhatsApp is also cracking down on the misuse of its app.
A post published under the WhatsApp FAQ section details Facebook’s approach to misuse of its WhatsApp Business API.
WhatsApp said it was aware that some users were exploiting its systems to send spam to users, and it has banned millions of abusive accounts which engaged in this behaviour.
The company has now gone one step further, promising to take legal action against users who abuse its systems to send out bulk messages or use the application for non-personal tasks.
“This serves as notice that we will take legal action against companies for which we only have off-platform evidence of abuse if that abuse continues beyond December 7, 2019, or if those companies are linked to on-platform evidence of abuse before that date,” WhatsApp said.