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Facebook's WhatsApp Drops Subscription Fee, Tests New B2C Tools

  • Messaging service won't introduce third-party advertisements
  • Company will test new ways to link users to companies
People are seen as silhouettes as they check mobile devices whilst standing against an illuminated wall bearing WhatsApp Inc's logo in this arranged photograph in London, U.K., on Tuesday, Jan. 5, 2016. WhatsApp Inc. offers a cross-platform mobile messaging application that allows users to exchange messages.
Photographer: Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg

Facebook Inc.’s WhatsApp messaging service is to drop its annual $0.99 subscription fee. Instead it will test ways to monetize its nearly 1 billion customers by allowing businesses to communicate with WhatsApp users as an alternative to introducing third-party ads.

WhatsApp Inc. will remove the fees from different versions of its app over the coming weeks because many users who don’t have a debit or credit card are concerned about losing access to their contacts after a free trial period, the company said Monday in a blog post.