WhatsApp is testing a new feature that could let users communicate with companies via secure messages, part of a broader overhaul to make the service more business friendly.
The tool will allow users to see whether a business account has been verified by WhatsApp before initiating a conversation. Currently, the feature, which has been downloaded by reporters at CNBC through the Google Play store, is in beta on Android and enables WhatsApp itself to communicate with users.
WhatsApp, which Facebook acquired in 2014, said in a blog post a year ago that it “plans to test ways for people to communicate with businesses in the months ahead.” Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said last week that he wants the company’s messaging products — WhatsApp and Messenger — to speed up their efforts to generate sales.
Zuckerberg needs diversified revenue streams as growth in Facebook’s core ad business starts to slow. He told analysts on a conference call following second-quarter results that the company has to “move even faster” on its messaging products.