Will this new app affect traditional Whatsapp users? What are the main fears about this?
During the last few years, several rumors about the change of WhatsApp from free to paid service have worried the more than 1,500 million users and now the application officially announced the launch of a new service for "business" users, who in a certain way will have to pay to use the app.
This is WhatsApp Business, an Android app developed especially for small and medium businesses and designed to help businesses interact with their customers using tools to "automate, organize and respond quickly to messages", as explained by WhatsApp in its official blog
This new app is free to download and allows users to create a business profile similar to a web page, tag contacts to find them easier, save quick responses and access statistics such as the number of messages sent and read. However, performing some of these tasks would cost.
Who will have to pay and how much?
As WhatsApp details in its blog, "companies will pay for sending you certain messages, so that they are selective with what they send and prevent your chats from becoming congested", this means that businesses will be able to send important notifications to certain clients and for that they will have to pay between 0.5 and 0.9 cents -according to the tariffs handled by country- for each message.
The application also detailed that the objective of the implementation of these notifications is to allow companies to distribute relevant information such as confirmations, dates of shipment or arrival, reminders or appointments and not to invade the user with advertising.
Other pay features of the new application is the sending of quick answers, businesses will have the possibility to predetermine messages to be used frequently and thus be able to respond with agility to customers. This application is free as long as the companies respond within a period of less than 24 hours, doing so after this time will represent additional charges in the rate.
Will users be affected?
WhatsApp Business will apply payment rates only for companies that decide to use the services offered by the app. However, users share some fears unrelated to the payment policies that will be implemented. One of these is the sending of advertising that could saturate the chats, but according to what WhatsApp determined, users can block with a single button any company that is sending unsolicited information or decide whether or not to accept company notifications.
Another aspect that causes concern is the use of data for commercial purposes. The company indicates that the conversations through WhatsApp Business will be encrypted. However, a recent article published in The Wall Street Journal says that "it is possible that firms can store copies of these messages in a 'deciphered' state, creating groups of data that could be useful to them."
According to the company, the enterprise version of WhatsApp was tested for nine months with companies such as Uber, Booking.com and the Wish online store. The application is now available for download and according to official information published on the website, in countries such as Mexico, Brazil, USA, and India, Uber is already using WhatsApp Business to answer questions about its drivers to users.
LatinAmerican Post | Krishna Jaramillo
Translated from "WhatsApp Business: Todo lo que debe saber del nuevo servicio pago de esta app favorita"