The report quoted three people familiar with the matter as saying that the Meta team has been discussing whether to display ads in the contact conversation list on the WhatsApp chat screen, but has not yet made a final decision.

Meta is also considering whether to charge a subscription fee to use the ad-free app, the report said, adding that many company insiders opposed the move.

Meta did not immediately respond to Reuters’ request for comment.

In June, Meta gave employees a sneak peek at a range of AI tools it was building, including a ChatGPT-like chatbot planned for Messenger and WhatsApp that can use different personas to hold conversations.

In March, WhatsApp agreed to be more transparent about privacy policy changes it rolled out in 2021 after receiving complaints from consumer groups across Europe.

The European Consumer Organization (BEUC) and the European Network of Consumer Authorities told WhatsApp last year that it was breaking EU law by not clarifying the changes in plain and understandable language.

WhatsApp agreed to explain changes to the contract for EU users and how they affect their rights, agreed to prominently display users’ possibilities to accept or reject the changes, and ensure users can easily dismiss updated pop-up notifications.

The company also confirmed that users’ personal data will not be shared with third parties or other Meta companies, including Facebook, for advertising purposes.

Justice Commissioner Didier Reynders said at the time: “Consumers have the right to know what they are consenting to and what that choice specifically means, so that they can decide whether they want to continue using the platform.”

© Thomson Reuters 2023

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