WhatsApp is set to undergo a major change.
The messaging app, which is owned by Facebook, is introducing a number of new features designed to help it earn money.
It’s making it easier for businesses and regular users to communicate on the platform, and says people will be able to place orders on WhatsApp, and even receive updates from companies through it.
It’s started testing tools on the WhatsApp Business app, which has been built for small companies, and also says it’s working on “an enterprise solution for bigger companies operating at a large scale with a global base of customers”.
The WhatsApp Business app is currently free to use, but the firm has told the Wall Street Journal that it intends to charge businesses “in the future”.
“Over 1 billion people use WhatsApp every day to stay connected with their family and friends, and over time, more people are using the app to communicate with businesses they care about too,” said WhatsApp in a blog post.
“In fact, many connections are already taking place every day, whether it's someone placing an order with a local bakery or looking at new styles from a clothing store. But the way this happens now on WhatsApp is pretty rudimentary.”
It continues: “[Bigger companies] will be able to use our solutions to provide customers with useful notifications like flight times, delivery confirmations, and other updates.”
Business accounts will be marked by a a green verified badge with a white tick.
The announcement is likely to raise fears of getting spammed by companies.
Fortunately, you can block accounts by opening the conversation, tapping the menu button, selecting More and hitting Block.
While this doesn’t necessarily mean that ads definitely aren’t coming to WhatsApp anytime soon, the company has previously labelled adverts as “the disruption of aesthetics, the insults to your intelligence and the interruption of your train of thought”.
However, that was before it was taken over by Facebook.
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