Rejoice! Whatsapp announced in a blog post that it is dropping its yearly US$1 charge to users.
Woah, wait — hold the phone (literally). WhatsApp wasn’t always free?
Apparently not, but lucky you if you managed to avoid its 99 cent-yearly fee. Up until now, the messaging app was free to use only for one year but would then start charging 99 cents (or between AR$9 and 17 depending on the day and rate) for its service, each year, to be paid via debit or credit.
This is clearly not an outrageous sum, but if you didn’t have a credit or debit card in order to pay the fee, you ran the risk of suddenly being disconnected.
But this is no longer an issue now that WhatsApp has promised to “remove fees from the different versions of our app and WhatsApp will no longer charge you for our service.”
If you’re wondering how the world’s most popular messaging app makes money, well, Facebook, which purchased WhatsApp in February 2014 for US$19 billion, uses advertising and data to make a profit. And sure, most of us have learned to cope with pedidoya popping up on the right-hand side of our screen while we stalk through our ex-boyfriend’s holiday photos, but I doubt advertising will go down so well with the messaging app’s almost one billion users.
So, will they resort to ads taking up half our screen every 10 seconds? Thankfully, they have assured that, “The answer is no.”
Praise the lord. You wouldn’t want to have one seventh of the global population and half of Argentina against you now would you, WhatsApp.
¿Y los que siempre hemos tenido Whatsapp gratis ‘de por vida…’?
— Alex Gómez (@agmagaldi) January 18, 2016
“And for those of us who’ve used WhatsApp for free our whole lives…?”
(Yeah, I feel you buddy. Have I unconsciously been hacking the system too this whole time?)