Facebook Might Let Businesses Contact Customers Through WhatsApp

When Facebook forked over $19 billion to buy WhatsApp last year, it wasn’t clear how the company planned to make money off the messaging service, considering it already had its own separate app. One possibility? Facebook is considering allowing businesses to contact users — for a price, of course.

Facebook said that it may introduce business-to-consumer interaction that marketers would pay to get access to, reports Bloomberg. At 800 million users, WhatsApp is close to the 1 billion number Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg cited in the past as the level it could start to become a meaningful business.

“We think that enabling that B2C messaging has good business potential for us,” David Wehner, Facebook’s chief financial officer, said at a technology conference Monday. “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 longer-term than the near-term.”

It’s unclear whether users would have to opt in to such an arrangement, or whether companies who’d paid their fee to Facebook could reach out to whoever they wanted.

Facebook Might Consider Business-to-Consumer Chat for WhatsApp [Bloomberg]