Facebook VP of Monetization Product Matt Idema Is Now WhatsApp’s COO

Idema will bring his focus on monetization to the messaging app

WhatsApp named its first-ever chief operating officer, tapping parent company Facebook’s vice president of monetization product marketing Matt Idema to fill the role.

Facebook confirmed the move, which was initially reported by Kurt Wagner of Recode, but the social network did not provide any further details.

Wagner reported that Idema will bring his focus on monetization to the messaging application and will shift roles “in the coming weeks,” reporting directly to WhatsApp co-founder and CEO Jan Koum.

A spokesperson confirmed to Wagner that monetizing WhatsApp does not include ads, which echoed Koum’s blog post last January, when the messaging app dropped its subscription fees:

Naturally, people might wonder how we plan to keep WhatsApp running without subscription fees and if today’s announcement means we’re introducing third-party ads. The answer is no. Starting this year, we will test tools that allow you to use WhatsApp to communicate with businesses and organizations that you want to hear from. That could mean communicating with your bank about whether a recent transaction was fraudulent, or with an airline about a delayed flight. We all get these messages elsewhere today—through text messages and phone calls—so we want to test new tools to make this easier to do on WhatsApp, while still giving you an experience without third-party ads and spam.

Readers: What do you think of Idema’s move to WhatsApp, and how do you see him monetizing the app?

Photo courtesy of Matthew Idema’s Facebook profile.

david.cohen@adweek.com David Cohen is editor of Adweek's Social Pro Daily.