Facebook to start monetising WhatsApp

Facebook has plans in the works to cash in on the continuing popularity of WhatsApp, according to the Wall Street Journal.

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The social media giant will eventually charge companies to use some of the tools it has started testing on Whatsapp this summer, WhatsApp's chief operating officer Matt Idema said in an interview.

The new tools are currently free, letting businesses 'verify' their profile to indicate they are a legitimate business, or provide customers with notifications like flight times, delivery confirmations, and other updates.

WhatsApp's blog post said that the features target not only small companies, but its enterprise solution will also help bigger companies that are operating at a large scale with a global base of customers, like airlines, e-commerce sites, and banks.

"We want to put a basic foundation in place to allow people to message businesses and for them to get the responses that they want," Matt Idema told the Wall Street Journal. "We do intend on charging businesses in the future."

It is not clear how much WhatsApp will charge for the feature or when it will start to charge businesses.

WhatsApp was acquired by Facebook for US$19 billion in 2014. Last year, WhatsApp started connecting users' accounts to Facebook to share data.

(Read more: WhatsApp to share more user data with parent company Facebook)