Facebook said it might allow businesses to contact users through their chat app WhatsApp, Bloomberg (opens in new tab)said in a report on Tuesday.
This might be the first hint on how the social media giant plans on making money off the app that it bought for $22 billion (£14 billion).
Facebook is currently testing some features in its standalone messaging app Messenger, and one of the features is business-to-consumer interaction which marketers can pay for. These features could find their way to WhatsApp, as well.
"We think that enabling that business to consumer messaging has good business potential for us," Wehner said at the JPMorgan technology conference in Boston earlier today. "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."
WhatsApp currently sits with 800 million users, but Mark Zuckerberg said it needed at least a billion to be a “meaningful business”. However, the business is growing rapidly (the app had 600 million users last August), so it’s fairly realistic to expect WhatsApp hitting one billion users before the end of the year.
In October, Facebook for the first time disclosed financial information for the messaging service, revealing, for example, that WhatsApp made nearly $16 million in revenues during the first half of 2014 but lost $232 million (£149.5 million) during the same period, mostly from stock-related expenses, Mashable (opens in new tab)says in a report.
The situation looked pretty similar for 2013, when the company generated $10.2 million (£6.5 million) in revenues for the year but likewise hemorrhaged $138 million (£88 million), also from stock-related expenses.