Earlier this week, WhatsApp CEO Jan Koum revealed his plans to leave Facebook. His announcement, unsurprisingly, was met with equal amounts of surprise and shock. But his announcement has been followed by speculations around why he is leaving, and what his departure would mean for WhatsApp.
Just before his announcement, Washington Post reported about alleged differences between Koum and Facebook regarding user privacy, and weakening of WhatsApp’s encryption. Now, analysts claim that Koum departure would mean users should brace themselves for ads on the messaging platform.
“We normally wouldn’t publish a note on an executive departure, but we think Jan Koum’s departure as potentially significant implications. We’ve been told by many of our checks over the last few years that once Jan leaves, that’s when the ads show up,” a Barclays analyst note reads. A screenshot of the note was shared on Twitter by Amit Ranjan, co-founder of SlideShare, Moneycontrol reports.
The Barclays’ analysts reiterate what was mentioned in the WP report. “There has been a tension between the WhatsApp founding team and Facebook around the future of messaging and pace of monetization,” the note reads.
When Facebook eventually decides to monetize WhatsApp by showing ads, analysts believe there could be a significant growth in the ad impressions for the social media giant. Barclays’ analysts talk about a scenario where one ad per WhatsApp Daily Active User per day could add nearly three percent to Facebook’s overall impressions growth. But in reality, the number of ads per user could be much more than one.
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Koum’s farewell Facebook post didn’t really get into the details of why he was leaving. Instead, he wrote, “I’m leaving at a time when people are using WhatsApp in more ways than I could have imagined. The team is stronger than ever and it’ll continue to do amazing things.”
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg commented on Koum’s post saying, “I will miss working so closely with you. I’m grateful for everything you’ve done to help connect the world, and for everything you’ve taught me, including about encryption and its ability to take power from centralized systems and put it back in people’s hands. Those values will always be at the heart of WhatsApp.”