The WhatsApp Endgame: A New Beginning or Ending?

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You read that right, folks. If you’re someone who likes to keep receipts on the drama going on in your WhatsApp group chat, you might want to sit down for this one.

WhatsApp is currently testing out a new Authentication feature, as a part of its next big update. The update includes other security changes, like confirming users’ identities with their fingerprint. Even after this, the users will still not be able to screenshot their chats.

In an earlier update, WhatsApp had added the group conference feature, which is used extensively by corporate departments and students hoping to pull off a miracle by studying in one night to video call four people simultaneously. The calls were end to end encrypted.

Revenue Roads

As WhatsApp is a free texting platform which does not host ads, the question naturally arises, how does WhatsApp make money? It was speculated that the revenue is generated primarily through database management, by collecting consumer data and eventually selling it to advertisers. But with the introduction of end-to-end encryption, this speculation became obsolete.

Since its acquisition by Facebook in 2013, the profits for the California-based company have been close to none. With no way of monetising, the app may look at the potential of privacy of its users as a method of bringing in money.

WhatsApp Pay?

WhatsApp was also reported to have been making an attempt at a payments app, similar to the ubiquitous Google Pay and PayTM. It was launched to limited users last year, As it does not comply with all data regulations in India, falling short of a few RBI norms, as per which, payment firms were supposed to store their data locally.

If launched in India, WhatsApp could greatly benefit from the billions of users who want to explore the convenient realm of online payment.

The Zuck Starts Here:

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Mark Zuckerberg

In a recent conference call with analysts, Mark Zuckerberg has relayed that in India, most users spend more time on WhatsApp than other Facebook-owned social media websites like Instagram and Facebook itself, generating less profit.

Recognising the non-monetising nature of WhatsApp, and adding it up with the lack of profits, Zuckerberg was primarily inclined to building a more private space for the users, and probably, to benefit from it monetarily.
“Over time there’s an even bigger opportunity with the digital living room to build a platform focused on privacy… I think we should focus our efforts on building this privacy focused platform”, he said.

WhatsApp: Same, but Different:

An obvious solution to WhatsApp’s profit problem is running advertisements.

I know what you’re thinking: What a Plot Twist. In the immortal words of Harvey Dent, “You either die a hero or live long enough to see yourself become the villain”.

While running ads may not be on the same magnitude as other villainy, I think we all can agree that ads are- for the most part- really annoying. With its profits plummeting, it’s only natural that WhatsApp should choose to run ads. A spokesperson from the company has conveyed that the ads will be run on the Status Tab (the tab used to put up stories from the night before).

Which means that if you are the type that cannot control their FOMO, boy do we have bad news for you.

This article is originally published at Tech Infinite and include all research by Tech Infinite Team.

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