WhatsApp

WhatsApp is largest messaging platforms around, with the Facebook-owned service touting over 1.5 billion monthly users. While the service may not be prominent in the U.S., its usage is near-ubiquitous in markets like India and Brazil, where it is used for everything from delivery tracking to payments. Here's what you need to know about the platform.

The latest WhatsApp news

October 31, 2018 — Get ready to see ads on WhatsApp

We've been hearing rumblings of ads coming to WhatsApp for some time now, and the platform's vice president Chris Daniels has confirmed that the Status feature will start showing ads in the coming months:

We are going to be putting ads in 'Status'. That is going to be primary monetisation mode for the company as well as an opportunity for businesses to reach people on WhatsApp.

There isn't a timeline for when ads will show up in the service, but an earlier statement suggested the monetization push would begin in earnest from early 2019. Daniels is in India to address the spread of fake news on WhatsApp. Over the last few months, misinformation transmitted via the messaging platform has led to a slew of deaths across India.

In a bid to curb the violence, the government is now seeking ways to identify and track those that spread misinformation on the service. However, that won't be easy as WhatsApp offers end-to-end encryption, and a trace feature would break it. For its part, WhatsApp has said it is working with government officials to better address these issues:

We appreciate the opportunity to meet with government leaders, including Minister Prasad who confirmed his support for encryption and the privacy of our users. WhatsApp is deeply committed to serving the people of India and working closely with civil society and government leaders to help address abuse on our platform.

Our new Head of WhatsApp India, who will be named by the end of the year, will build a local team that can serve our customers in India as well as work with partners and government.

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Getting started

WhatsApp

WhatsApp saw a meteoric rise in growth from emerging markets for its focus on simplicity. The app has picked up a ton of features in the last two years — including voice and video calls — but it has retained its lightweight footprint. That is one of the main reasons why it was able to take off in markets like India. Its ability to work on low-powered devices, as well as Android Go phones has allowed it to shore up millions of users.

At last count, WhatsApp had over 250 million users from India alone, or just under half of the country's internet-connected populace. If you're just getting started with the service or are interested in learning more about all the features on offer, head to our ultimate guide for all the details:

WhatsApp for Android: The ultimate guide