Whatsapp has asked some users to pay for its services. But don’t worry, you’ll still be able to chat to friends free of charge because only business accounts will be affected. Companies will now be able to pay to send information such as delivery dates, order confirmations or boarding passes via Whatsapp, paying between 0.5 cents to 9 cents (0.3p to 7p) per message in exchange for a guarantee that it has been received.
Whatsapp said the system would allow ordinary users to ‘request helpful information’ and ask for help from a business. It will also let businesses start conversations with customers or provide real-time support. Whatsapp vowed to make sure it didn’t bombard people with spam. ‘You will continue to have full control over the messages you receive,’ it wrote.
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.’ The strategy marks a bold new era for Facebook, which bought Whatsapp for $19 billion in 2014 and does not appear to have made a serious effort to make it pay until now. Zuck might need a cash boost because his social network recently suffered the biggest one-day stock price drop in history. It also revealed plans to make Instagram more profitable by introducing a really annoying new feature.