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WhatsApp is Starting 2016 with a Bang
By: Jessica Cherok
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For WhatsApp, 2015 was a banner year. In 2016, however, the app is clearly aiming to go even bigger.

At the 2016 DLD conference in Germany, WhatsApp made three big announcements: First, it has nearly reached a billion active users. For scale, Facebook has 1.19 billion active monthly users. WhatsApp could come close to eclipsing that number with its estimated growth of about a million users per day.

Secondly, WhatsApp is now free. Previously the app charged 99 cents for its subscription service, but has now decided to nix the charge. The change is likely due to its costs now being handled by its uber-rich parent company, Facebook.

Finally, and perhaps most excitingly to advertisers, WhatsApp is now opening itself to businesses. Companies will be able to use the service to market themselves to WhatsApp users; however, it will not be for free. WhatsApp cofounder Jan Koum said the company was looking into different models for pricing for businesses wishing to use the app.

WhatsApp has proved incredibly popular worldwide with regular users, meaning businesses have been chomping at the bit to get their brands in front of the giant user base.

Still, WhatsApp has promised to be considerate when letting advertisers in, keeping with their vocal stance of hating advertisers.

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About the Author
Jessica Cherok is an advocate for online privacy, campaigning for ethical data practices and the protection of personal privacy.
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