WhatsApp to charge its business app users

Social media applications on a mobile phone. — DayakDaily.com file pic

KUCHING, August 2: Popular messaging app WhatsApp will start charging its business users for sending marketing and customer service messages.

In a statement dated August 1, the service provider, now owned by Facebook Inc, said it planned to monetise some of its services, following slow usage and revenue growth. But no timeframe was mentioned.

WhatsApp said the messages would be charged at a fixed rate for confirmed delivery, with rates per message depending on the country.

“With this approach, you will continue to have full control over the messages you receive. Businesses will pay to send certain messages, so they are selective and your chats don’t get cluttered. In addition, messages will remain end-to-end encrypted and you can block any business with the tap of a button.

“We will bring more businesses onto WhatsApp over a period of time. To do so, we will work directly with a few hundred businesses and a select number of companies that specialise in managing customer communications,” the company said through a statement on its website https://blog.whatsapp.com

WhatsApp has around 1.5 billion users worldwide, and 51 per cent of Malaysians use the app to find, share and discuss news, according to Digital News Report 2017.

In January this year, WhatsApp announced it would start allowing small business accounts to communicate through the WhatsApp Business application, which has over 3 million active users.

Its chief operating officer, Matt Idema, said at the time that WhatsApp intended to charge businesses in the future. — DayakDaily