Use WhatsApp? Get ready to receive marketing messages from firms

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WhatsApp users could soon be getting message from businesses as well as their contacts.

WhatsApp has updated its privacy policy to clear the way for businesses to begin sending messages to its one billion users.

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The Facebook-owned messaging app is making good on a plan announced earlier this year to monetize the platform without display advertising, but instead by connecting businesses with users. To enable this, it is updating its privacy policy for the first time in four years.

WhatsApp highlights that messages could include alerts from banks about potential fraudulent transactions, or messages from airlines about changed flight schedules, which are otherwise delivered via SMS or calls.

“Messages you may receive containing marketing could include an offer for something that might interest you. We do not want you to have a spammy experience; as with all of your messages, you can manage these communications, and we will honor the choices you make,” WhatsApp says in the new policy.

WhatsApp also announced that it will be working more closely with Facebook in the coming months, including linking users’ phone numbers with Facebook’s systems in order for Facebook to deliver more targeted ads based on WhatsApp activity.

“By coordinating more with Facebook, we’ll be able to do things like track basic metrics about how often people use our services and better fight spam on WhatsApp. And by connecting your phone number with Facebook’s systems, Facebook can offer better friend suggestions and show you more relevant ads if you have an account with them. For example, you might see an ad from a company you already work with, rather than one from someone you’ve never heard of.”

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