For the first time, Facebook has added the ability to send and receive money to WhatsApp.
Facebook has been looking for ways to monetize WhatsApp, after buying the messaging platform for $19 billion in 2014. The company had previously looked at including ads in WhatsApp, something its original founders were bitterly opposed to. In fact, they went so far as to change the terms of service to expressly prohibit ads, and make it difficult for Facebook to do so at a later date. Facebook’s ongoing attempts, however, are one of the big factors that led WhatApp’s cofounders to exit the company, leaving behind some $1.3 billion in deferred compensation.
The ongoing backlash seems so have been successful in convincing Facebook to abandon its efforts to include ads and focus on commercial transactions instead. Today’s announcement is a major step in that direction, with the new feature rolling out in Brazil.
The feature is powered by Facebook Pay, which is available in the US via Facebook and Messenger. Integrating it with WhatsApp is sure to be a big hit, given the worldwide popularity of the messaging platform.
Needless to say, this feature will likely be rolling out around the world sooner rather than later.