MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. – WhatsApp, the messaging app that doesn’t need any presentation, will stop charging users its annual $1 fee.
The Facebook-owned company explained on its blog Monday the move came after considering that many users don’t have a debit or credit card and are afraid to lose access to the app after their first year.
WhatsApp’s CEO and co-founder Jan Koum made the announcement at the annual Digital-Life-Design (DLD) conference in Munich.
WhatsApp reassured that its fee elimination is not aimed at including annoying forms of revenue generation such as third-party ads and spam. This means that users won’t have to pay fees anymore and will still have the best experience while chatting with friends and family.
The firm, acquired in 2014 by Facebook for $19.2 billion, clarified that it will soon add fees to companies such as restaurants and airlines who want to stay in touch with their consumers.
“Starting this year, we will test tools that allow you to use WhatsApp to communicate with businesses and organizations that you want to hear from. That could mean communicating with your bank about whether a recent transaction was fraudulent, or with an airline about a delayed flight”, reads WhatsApp’s announcement.
In September 2015, Koum announced that the messaging service had reached 900 million monthly active users. The removal of the annual fee may have a positive impact on that count.
In addition, WhatsApp is planning to offer complete encryption of messages to warrant the privacy of user conversations. This move will probably increase criticism from governments who argue that such features prevent them from detecting and monitoring criminal suspects or disrupting militant plots. Authorities in the United States and Britain have already threatened to pass new legislations to block these encryption services on WhatsApp and Apple’s iMessage.
WhatsApp will figure as the world’s largest service that offers completely private messaging once it has fully introduced encryption on all its versions.
Source: WhatsApp Blog