Dubai: WhatsApp, the Facebook Inc. owned messaging service, will continue to offer businesses the ability to communicate with customers, according to a senior Facebook executive.
There has been speculation in recent months that the app might adopt a more commercial approach, following the departure of WhatsApp’s two influential founders from Facebook, the company that acquired it for $19 billion in 2014.
When asked if the messaging service, which boasts 1.5 billion users, would begin serving its customers with adverts, Shant Oknayan, Facebook’s business lead for the Middle East, North Africa, and Pakistan, said he wasn’t aware of any such plans.
“I wouldn’t be privy to that kind of information,” he said, adding that “the set up that WhatsApp has today in terms of what’s available for businesses is more of a messaging tool.”
Pointing to Careem, which recently launched a dedicated customer service WhatsApp number across all of its markets, as an example, Oknayan said that the platform would allow companies to constantly communicate with its customers.
“At the moment it’s going down that path … regardless of the dynamics that have happened within the organisation itself,” he added.
WhatsApp chief executive and founder Jan Koum, who announced he was leaving Facebook in April, was known for being vehemently against running adverts on the platform.
Experts say, however, that the free app is now under pressure to make money.