Facebook Plans To Charge Businesses Using WhatsApp
Facebook has outlined its plan to monetise its WhatsApp messaging service by charging businesses for some interactions with customers.
After acquiring WhatsApp for US$22 billion in 2014, Facebook did not introduce advertising that prominently features on the main Facebook platform, on Instagram and, as of July, on its Messenger app.
Instead, the company told The Wall Street Journal it now plans to make money by charging businesses for some services that will allow them to connect with customers.
“We want to put a basic foundation in place to allow people to message businesses and for them to get the responses that they want… We do intend on charging businesses in the future,” said WhatsApp COO Matt Idema.
A free app will be available for small businesses to interact with customers from WhatsApp’s one billion daily user base, while larger businesses will also able to take advantage of a free customer interaction tool. These are currently being tested in Europe, India, Brazil and Indonesia before a wider release.
Businesses are able to answer questions or send updates to users who choose to opt in, and can be verified with a green tick to distinguish official accounts from other users.
WhatsApp did not specify what new features it would charge businesses for, or when it would begin rolling them out.