Just over 2 weeks after it announced that its user numbers had grown to 900 million people globally, Whatsapp has today followed this up with another milestone announcement – the social media service now has 1 billion active users signed.
Celebrating the achievement via his Facebook page, Mark Zuckerberg wrote: One billion people now use WhatsApp. Congrats to Jan, Brian and everyone who helped reach this milestone! WhatsApp’s community has more than doubled since joining Facebook. We’ve added the ability for you to call loved ones far away. We’ve dropped the subscription fee and made WhatsApp completely free. Next, we’re going to work to connect more people around the world and make it easier to communicate with businesses. There are only a few services that connect more than a billion people. This milestone is an important step towards connecting the entire world.”
Whatsap’s unconventional co-founder, Jan Koum, however took to his Twitter page to celebrate the milestone, even though indirectly:
Facebook’s quarterly results released on January 27 indicated that Whatsapp records 900 million users each month.
On January 28, Whatspp stated via its official blog that it would no longer charge subscription fees. “Nearly a billion people around the world today rely on WhatsApp to stay in touch with their friends and family…That’s why we’re happy to announce that WhatsApp will no longer charge subscription fees. For many years, we’ve asked some people to pay a fee for using WhatsApp after their first year. As we’ve grown, we’ve found that this approach hasn’t worked well. Many WhatsApp users don’t have a debit or credit card number and they worried they’d lose access to their friends and family after their first year. So over the next several weeks, we’ll remove fees from the different versions of our app and WhatsApp will no longer charge you for our service.”
However, the scrapping off of subscription fees led people to question how the firm intended to sustain its operations.
Whatsapp clarified this, stating: “Naturally, people might wonder how we plan to keep WhatsApp running without subscription fees and if today’s announcement means we’re introducing third-party ads. The answer is no. Starting this year, we will test tools that allow you to use WhatsApp to communicate with businesses and organizations that you want to hear from. That could mean communicating with your bank about whether a recent transaction was fraudulent, or with an airline about a delayed flight. We all get these messages elsewhere today – through text messages and phone calls – so we want to test new tools to make this easier to do on WhatsApp, while still giving you an experience without third-party ads and spam.”