Five years and a billion users later, WhatsApp is now fully free!

WhatsApp Messenger is now completely free for all users after a five-year fun ride when it notched up almost a billion users, a feat that its parent company Facebook took nearly nine years to achieve!

The popular messaging service will now earn revenue from companies and firms by letting them interact with WhatsApp users and hard-selling their offerings and services.

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So if you were just dreading the fact that WhatsApp will now float in pop-ups, pop-downs, banners, floaters, flyers and posters, you need not worry. So far, WhatsApp has been filling its pipe through yearly subscriptions that cost $0.99 for every user after the first year, but the bosses in there feel that the fee "really doesn't work that well."

“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 organisations that you want to hear from.

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“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,” said the company in a blog post.

The use of paid subscription means that a vast majority of people who do not have access to debit or credit cards in poorer countries aren't able to pay for it even if the cost isn't much. On the contrary, Facebook is completely free and thus has more users even though you'll need to download its Messenger app separately to chat with your friends.

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Even though the subscription fee has been dropped universally, the said software update will take some days to filter through all versions of WhatsApp. This would mean that if your 12-month free period ends tomorrow, you'll still need to pay up to continue using WhatsApp for another year.

For iOS users who paid an amount equivalent to the basic subscription fee to download the app, this news won't make any difference, nor will it for those who started using WhatsApp during the times when it was free. For such users, WhatsApp continues to remain free till date.

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