Ads on WhatApp to impact the usage, expert says [Gulf News (United Arab Emirates)]
(Gulf News (United Arab Emirates) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) Dubai: The Facebook-WhatsApp deal has raised fears that Facebook would introduce adverts to WhatsApp in bid to make money and lose its privacy.
When downloading the WhatsApp application, it asks permission to access your phone book data.
WhatsApp said in its blog that no one else using WhatsApp has access to your address book data unless you share the data.
"In order to prevent and reduce unsolicited spam messages, as well as to improve your in-app experience, WhatsApp uses the phone numbers from your phone's address book. WhatsApp does not store any of your information on anyone else's systems," the blog said.
WhatsApp looks at the phone numbers in your address book, then checks to see which of those numbers are verified in WhatsApp. This allows any WhatsApp users from your address book to appear as contacts in your Favourites / Select contact screen and the Chats screen.
"During this entire process, only the phone numbers are sent to WhatsApp for lookup, securely, over an encrypted connection. No other information, such as names, emails, and addresses are sent," the blog said.
Mark Zuckerberg, Founder, Chairman and CEO, Facebook, had said that WhatsApp will continue operating as an independent service as Instagram and he does not think that ads are the right way to monetise messaging systems.
"WhatsApp will complement our existing chat and messaging services to provide new tools for our community. Facebook Messenger is widely used for chatting with your Facebook friends, and WhatsApp for communicating with all of your contacts and small groups of people. Since WhatsApp and Messenger serve such different and important uses, we will continue investing in both and making them each great products for everyone," Zuckerberg said in a statement.
But Khalid Abu Hosan, an engineer at a Dubai-based construction company, said that if Facebook is not going to use adverts on WhatApp, then how is it going to make money.
"I think it make use adverts after a couple of years. If ads don't pop up I will continue using WhatsApp," he said.
Vishal Tripathi, principal research analyst at Gartner, said that if advertisements happen on WhatsApp, then it will impact the usage. Right now Facebook has said that it will remain autonomous and operate independently.
"We have to watch and watch," Tripathi said.
Facebook needs to monetise it to make money, he said, and added that they have to look at a different way of monetising it.
Regarding privacy issue, Paul Black, Director of Telecoms and media at research firm International Data Corporation (IDC) said that privacy is one issue which everybody is facing on internet and no one is safe.
Jan Koum, co-founder of WhatsApp, said in a blog that users can still count on absolutely no ads interrupting your communication. "There would have been no partnership between our two companies if we had to compromise on the core principles that will always define our company, our vision and our product."
Facebook has assured the WhatsApp co-founders that WhatsApp will remain ad-free and they will not have to compromise on their principles. Jan, as a new member of Facebook's board, will continue to champion the rights of WhatsApp users.
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