WhatsApp On Brink Of Monetization, Mark Zuckerberg Says, Offers More Clarity On Metaverse Expenditure

Meta Platforms Inc (NASDAQ: META) CEO Mark Zuckerberg told employees that WhatsApp and Messenger would drive the company’s next wave of sales growth to assuage concerns about Meta’s finances after its first mass layoffs.

Zuckerberg addressed pointed questions at a company-wide meeting a week after Meta said it would lay off 11,000 workers.

He described the pair of messaging apps as being “very early in monetizing” compared to its advertising juggernauts Facebook and Instagram, Reuters reported.

“We talk a lot about the very long-term opportunities like the metaverse, but the reality is that business messaging is probably going to be the next major pillar of our business as we work to monetize WhatsApp and Messenger more,” he said.

Meta enables some consumers to speak and transact with merchants through chat apps, including a new feature announced in Brazil.

Zuckerberg played down how much the company spent in Reality Labs, the unit responsible for its metaverse investments.

People were Meta’s most significant expense, followed by capex, the vast majority of which went to infrastructure to support its suite of social media apps, he said. About 20% of Meta’s budget was going to Reality Labs.

Within Reality Labs, the unit was spending over half of its budget on augmented reality (AR), with smart glasses products continuing to emerge “over the next few years” and some “truly great” AR glasses later in the decade, Zuckerberg said.

About 40% of Reality Labs’ budget went toward virtual reality, while about 10% went on futuristic social platforms like the virtual world it calls Horizon.

Chief Technology Officer Andrew Bosworth, who runs Reality Labs, said AR glasses need to be more beneficial than mobile phones to appeal to potential customers and meet a higher bar for attractiveness.

Bosworth said he was wary of developing “industrial applications” for the devices, describing that as “niche,” and wanted to stay focused on building for a broad audience.