Facebook-owned WhatsApp will soon follow its chat and social app peers in offering adverts.

They will appear in the Status feature of the WhatsApp application, although the company is yet to reveal when they will start. It is thought it could be as soon as early 2019.

"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," said WhatsApp's vice president Chris Daniels to India's Economic Times.

WhatsApp is a free chat service that has remained ad-free until now.

The Status area of the app is where users can post texts, photos, videos and GIFs that can be viewed for just 24 hours - Snapchat style.

It is reported that the new ad service will be managed by Facebook's native advertising system. It will be designed to engage users to interact and even chat with businesses that promote their services or products.

Bringing ads to WhatsApp is a controversial move that even lead to the resignation of one of the co-founders, Brian Acton, in the past.

However, after buying WhatsApp for $19 billion in 2014, Facebook has constantly looked for ways to make money from its 1.5 billion users.

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