WhatsApp will be introducing adverts to its messaging app this year, Facebook has confirmed.
The update was revealed last year during the annual Facebook Marketing Summit which was held in the Netherlands.
Conference attendee Olvier Ponteville shared photos of the presentation on Twitter, together with details about how ads will appear within WhatsApp Statuses – a feature similar to Instagram Stories.
The WhatsApp ads appear to take up the entire screen of a smartphone and allow users to find out more information about the advertiser by swiping up, though not all users will welcome this feature.
When WhatsApp first launched its creators promised it would not sell its users’ data or put ads on the platform. Instead, it charged a yearly fee of 99 cents in order to generate revenue and cover the costs of hosting the chats of millions of users.
WhatsApp experienced huge growth following the Facebook takeover and now boasts more than 1.5 billion users from around 180 countries, however it has since softened its stance on adverts.
WhatsApp co-founders Jan Koum and Brian Acton have both left the messaging app in recent years and have been critical of Facebook’s attempts to make profits through the app. In 2012, two years before the Facebook takeover, Mr Koum explained WhatsApp’s stance towards advertising by quoting the movie Fight Club.
“Advertising has us chasing cars and clothes, working jobs we hate so we can buy shit we don’t need,” he wrote in a blog post. In his own words, he added: “Remember, when advertising is involved, you the user are the end product.”
Facebook acquired WhatsApp in 2014 for $19 billion.