This has been a long time coming as Facebook has rebuilt their messaging platforms for better performance. In an announcement in 2019 at F8, the Facebook developers conference they had talked about merging all chat apps under Facebook into one that will be faster and more stable.
This was an engineering decision to make the messaging product a better one. By merging the backend of all messenger apps it makes it easier and faster to connect users to each other. This means the data you have on users will now be centralized and faster to connect users together.
Facebook has been struggling for the longest time to find a way to monetize its 1.5 billion users on Whatsapp.
While placing ads could have been the easy way to make money out of the platform Facebook took the user privacy seriously and wanted to make sure they do not upset an already sensitive user base on the matter. Management at Facebook took this to heart when they let go of the team that was supposed to create an advertising model for Whatsapp.
"WhatsApp in recent months disbanded a team that had been established to find the best ways to integrate ads into the service, according to people familiar with the matter. The team’s work was then deleted from WhatsApp’s code, the people said."
What can small businesses expect from Facebook and their products?
Facebook had plans to announce a suite of new products that would have helped small businesses. These are now delays due to the backlash that happened.
Improved Communication Center
Some of the amazing features or products we would have expected from Facebook could have been a better communications center for brands and businesses. This would allow brands to communicate with their fans and customers across all platforms.
Improved Audience Targeting
Businesses with an active Whatsapp Business profile would be able to target their audience based on the topic they talked about. Does that mean Facebook will be able to see your Whatsapp messages? No, all your messages are still encrypted and cannot be read. Community managers will be able to tag the conversations and hence add them into smaller audience groups that you can retarget in your communication.
While many users have been upset with the policy update it is doubtful that users will abandon the platform. Whatsapp has become a necessity for many of us. It has become a stable part of business communication as well as communication with family and friends.
Facebook will have to revisit its approach to launch these product updates to make life easier and better for business owners. Facebook has always had the best interest of small businesses at heart since they make up the majority of the advertisers on its platform. It is just a matter of time before these new features and products launch.