WhatsApp made an announcement on January 19 stating that it will begin offering its services for free, dropping its $1 annual subscription fee. However, the company aims to alternatively compensate the income lost from this move by providing businesses the opportunity to employ the service to directly interact with users. With only a day following this new direction, a push notification has already hit several users that migrates them to the lifetime subscription. However, some user reports revealed that a subsequent push notification hit their devices prompting them to roll back to the former subscription. This fortunately, only seems like a temporary error or even a solution to current problem the WhatsApp developers are in the process of fixing.

For a while now, users of the WhatsApp application have been required to make a payment of US$0.99 a year following the initial year of use. WhatsApp has gotten rid of the fee, even though the sum was was relatively small, with many long-standing WhatsApp users being exempted being charged the amount.

Unfortunately, users who are currently incurring fees will have to pay, due to the fact that the changes may take a little over weeks to take effect across the various WhatsApp app versions. According to WhatsApp’s blogpost, this new direction is because of concerns that some users do not access to debit or credit cards or own either one but do not have the necessary funds when they are prompted to pay the required fee, which may in turn result in the termination of access to the service.

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Globally, WhatsApp has almost a billion users, this means the company gains a significant amount of revenue even if its a mere $1 annual subscription fee. As a strategy to cover for this loss, WhatsApp plans to make itself a platform for facilitating direct communications between businesses and users. This is also aimed to get rid of spam and annoying advertisements.

The strategy is similar to the one the Facebook company took with the Messenger app, the company’s single standing messaging service. With the Messenger app, Facebook allows users to connect with businesses and its also in the works to build other useful features such as payments and the capacity to call a ride via Uber.

What do you think about this new move by WhatsApp? Lets us know in the comments.

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