WhatsApp, one of the world’s most popular messaging apps has confirmed plans to become a commercial shopping site, it is becoming a marketing tool for businesses to pitch their wares. WhatsApp says, “This is how easy we think messaging a business should be, seeing a store’s catalog in a chat, adding an item to your cart, placing your order, and getting fast responses to questions. We are looking forward to bringing these experiences to more people on WhatsApp!” 

Facebook says, “We want to make shopping easier for people and empower anyone to use our apps to connect with customers and grow their business. That’s why we’re creating new ways for people to shop on our apps and providing tools to help businesses sell online.”

But…

Must this Facebook Mission Apply to WhatsApp Too?

WhatsApp was designed to be a secure messenger and that’s all it should be. A messaging platform we can trust and not be milked for commercial usage. Some may not have any issue with this new update but how about the users who rely on the app for communication? 

After all, WhatsApp co-founder Jan Koum in 2014 with respect to the Facebook acquisition said, “this will give WhatsApp the flexibility to grow and expand… You 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.” So what changed? The mission was always been to provide simple, secure ad and clutter-free messaging now it just feels as though Facebook plans on turning every communications platform into a marketplace. 

We’ve seen over the years how Facebook messenger and Instagram have become marketing and business-focused, are Whatsapp Users ready for that kind of transition as well? 

This update could potentially compromise the proud 2 billion following WhatsApp has gathered over the years and unfortunately, there is so much competition in the messaging space with iMessage for the iPhone community, Google Duo, and Telegram among others. Facebook needs to understand that there is a huge difference between commercialization and communication and then differentiate which apps work for which. 

Although the intention to empower people and their businesses is a noble one, it does necessarily mean a complete take over will be welcomed after all. Currently, business owners and their customers communicate fine on the platform already, what is the point of messing with a win? I suggest they focus on other updates like multiple device access and also the issue of end-to-end- encrypted backups.  Regardless, people can sometimes surprise you, despite the clear shortcomings, WhatsApp is still one of the biggest platforms out right now and even with the systematic commercialization, it is here to stay. Users may likely carry on us