Mobile Commerce

Facebook’s WhatsApp Has 1B Users — Now What?

It’s been a busy month for Mark Zuckerberg’s Facebook and its WhatsApp messaging app.

First, the company decided to flip its subscription model and drop the $1 charge, instead moving toward its ad-based business model. Now, the messaging app has hit another major milestone: the billion user mark.

Facebook announced that the messaging service now has 42 billion messages and 1.6 billion photos shared daily on the app that’s been under Facebook’s belt for two years. WhatsApp also has 1 billion groups and serves as a platform for sending more than 250 million videos every day.

“WhatsApp’s community has more than doubled since joining Facebook. We’ve added the ability for you to call loved ones far away. We’ve dropped the subscription fee and made WhatsApp completely free. Next, we’re going to work to connect more people around the world and make it easier to communicate with businesses,” Zuckerberg wrote on Facebook. “There are only a few services that connect more than a billion people. This milestone is an important step towards connecting the entire world.”

When Facebook bought WhatsApp in a roughly $22 billion deal, there was a lot of chatter about how the social media network planned to monetize the app. The deal about exploring new business models by having businesses pay to have the chance to interact with WhatsApp users seems to be slowly coming to fruition.

The company is also testing a notification process that would let airlines, restaurants and credit card companies directly interact with consumers on their phones’ notification layer.

“WhatsApp began as a simple idea: ensuring that anyone could stay in touch with family and friends anywhere on the planet, without costs or gimmicks standing in the way,” WhatsApp Cofounder Jan Koum wrote in a Facebook blog post. “So, even as we celebrate this achievement, our focus remains the same.”


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