WhatsApp on Wednesday said it will start charging businesses for sending marketing and customer service messages, as the messaging platform faces slowing usage and revenue growth.
Messages from businesses will be charged at a fixed rate for confirmed delivery, ranging from 0.5 cents to 9 cents per message and depending on the country.
After acquiring WhatsApp for $19 billion in 2014, Facebook has been looking at ways to generate revenue from the brand.
WhatsApp, which has around 1.5 billion users, says large businesses will be charged for sending non-promotional content, such as shipping confirmations, appointment reminders or event tickets.
Users can also send messages to the business to ask questions, and responding to these messages will be free, for the first 24 hours — but will come at a premium thereafter, when compared to SMS rates.
The messenger service had announced in January it would start allowing small business accounts to communicate through the WhatsApp Business application, which has over three million active users.
Matt Idema, chief operating officer, WhatsApp, had said the company intends to charge businesses in the future, though the “details of monetisation were not figured out”.
Facebook also said on Wednesday that users on its namesake app and Instagram can now see the amount of time they spend on the app each day and receive notifications when they exceed a self-prescribed threshold.
Users will also be able to mute notifications from the apps for up to eight hours. (Agency Report)