Last year, Facebook purchased the massively popular messenger application WhatsApp for $21.8 billion. Under the site’s ownership, the app’s user base has continued to grow at a rapid rate, going from 600 million users last August to 800 million now. However, the app isn’t cheap to run; while it made $14 million in the first half of 2014, it lost a staggering $232 million through stock-related expenses during that same time period. What does that mean for users? They’ll likely soon experience Facebook’s efforts to monetize the app—and those efforts might feel invasive.
“We think that enabling that B2C [business-to-consumer] messaging has good business potential for us,” Facebook Chief Financial Officer David Wehner said at a tech conference this week. “As we learn those things, I think there’s going to be opportunities to bring some of those things to WhatsApp, but that’s more longer term.”
In other words, businesses could directly communicate with you on WhatsApp, the same space where you host private conversations with friends. These companies won’t directly interact with your friends in any way or intrude on your conversations, but the fact that they’re entering that space is sure to freak out some privacy-concerned users. As Facebook gathers more and more information about its users, the more advertising is likely to reach you—on both public and private platforms.