By Mike Wuerthele
Wednesday, January 25, 2017, 12:44 pm PT (03:44 pm ET)
With the News Feed largely full, Facebook will soon start testing ads in its Messenger app for mobile devices including the iPhone and iPad, the company revealed on Wednesday.
The test will be a limited to a small group of people in Australia and Thailand, Messenger product head Stan Chudnovsky explained to Recode. It will also initially be restricted to five advertisers, which were unmentioned.
Ads will appear further down in Messenger‘s homescreen, which should ensure that core functions are still easy to access.
Critically, Chudnovsky noted that ads won’t be targeted based on message content, which might have raised serious privacy concerns. Instead, companies will only be able direct ads using the same information available for regular Facebook spots.
In fact the test is geared partly towards seeing how people react. A backlash could therefore keep ads out of Messenger, at least temporarily.
Unlike Facebook Stories, currently available in Ireland, the Messenger test is expected to last several months before there’s any chance of ads coming to other countries.
“It’s not going to be expanding anywhere for a long time,” Chudnovsky said.