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Facebook Plans to Let Businesses Contact Customers via WhatsApp: Report

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Facebook Plans to Let Businesses Contact Customers via WhatsApp: Report
Facebook at this year's annual developer conference F8 announced a business to consumer (B2C) targeted initiative dubbed Facebook Messenger for Businesses. The company even went on to expand Messenger services by unveiling the Messenger Platform back in March and even allowing third-party developers to create apps. Now, a report claims that Facebook is considering letting businesses contact consumers directly via WhatsApp.

It might be the first hint that Facebook is gearing up to make money from WhatsApp. Facebook's Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg last year had said that it had no near-term plan to make money from the service.

Bloomberg reports that WhatsApp, the most widely used messaging service worldwide, might use some functions currently being tested on Facebook's Messenger - most notably, business-to-consumer interaction that's paid for by businesses.

The report quotes Facebook's chief financial officer, David Wehner, who was recently speaking at the JPMorgan technology conference, "We think that enabling B2C [business-to-consumer] messaging has good business potential for us. As we learn those things, I think there's going to be opportunities to bring some of those things to WhatsApp, but that's more long-term than the near-term."

Details about the WhatsApp's business-to-consumer interaction are limited as of now.

If implemented, Facebook might easily make revenue through paid business-to-consumer interaction on WhatsApp; though we are unaware how the consumer will respond. As of now, WhatsApp has been available without ads over messaging service.

To recall, Facebook finished its acquisition of WhatsApp in October for a price tag of $22 billion, and the deal started in February, at a time when WhatsApp had 450 million users. As of April, WhatsApp has 800 million monthly active users, according to CEO and co-founder Jan Koum. The company had crossed 700 million active users in January, and thus can be seen to have added 100 million users in four months.

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