Facebook is planning to charge businesses to talk to customers on its WhatsApp messaging service as explores ways to monetise its 1 billion daily users.
The app has recently introduced tools for smaller businesses that let them receive messages from customers and send them updates. The new features, available for testing, are currently free, but could be paid-for in the future, WhatsApp revealed.
Facebook, which bought WhatsApp for $19bn (£14.6bn) in 2014, has grappled with ways to monetise the service without irritating users amid fears that revenue from its main news feed has slowed.
“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,” Matt Idema, WhatsApp’s chief operating officer, told the Wall Street Journal. “We do intend on charging businesses in the future.”
The new tool lets businesses set up verified profiles and chat with users who have opted in. It said it has two services for small and large businesses, with the latter is being tested by major firms across the world including KLM Royal Dutch Airlines.
It is not clear how much WhatsApp will charge for the feature or when it will start to charge businesses.
Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg has said he expects WhatsApp and Messenger, two of the world’s most popular chat platforms, to start making money by 2022.
The social network recently started showing adverts to its 1.2 billion monthly Messenger users. Idelma would not rule out the possibility of displaying adverts within WhatsApp.
To date the regions where WhatsApp is most popular have been Facebook’s least lucrative in terms of advertising revenue. It generated $2.13 per user in Asia in the second quarter of 2017, compared with $19.38 in the US and Canada.
Courtesy: The Telegraph