News: WhatsApp is going to let companies message users.
Opening up a major new revenue stream for parent company Facebook, Whatsapp will allow companies to send messages to customers through the messaging app. In efforts to reassure its customer base, the messaging app reiterated its commitment to end-to-end encryption, saying that it will still have no access to message content. Banner adverts will still not be displayed in the app, though the company did say that they are looking to allow companies to send ‘marketing’ messages.
Announcing the testing of these new business services in the next several months, a WhatsApp spokesperson said in a blog:
“We want to explore ways for you to communicate with businesses that matter to you too, while still giving you an experience without third-party banner ads and spam. Whether it's hearing from your bank about a potentially fraudulent transaction, or getting notified by an airline about a delayed flight, many of us get this information elsewhere, including in text messages and phone calls.
This policy shake-up marks the first time that WhatsApp will share data with its parent company Facebook. When Facebook bought WhatsApp for $22bn, many voiced concerns about the possible mining and sharing of data between the two companies.
“By connecting your phone number with Facebook's systems, Facebook can offer better friend suggestions and show you more relevant ads if you have an account with them.”WhatsApp said in the blog post.
“For example, you might see an ad from a company you already work with, rather than one from someone you've never heard of.”
Interestingly, Facebook Messenger is also making a business play with chat bots, a contrast to WhatsApp’s more basic push on the market.