Facebook will no longer charge a subscription fee for its popular WhatsApp platform, according to a report from Re/Code.
The fee has been removed immediately in all markets and any current subscription will be cancelled.
Facebook says it could take weeks for its app to remove all traces of its billing option from its various apps.
WhatsApp CEO Jan Koum announced the chance while speaking at the DLD Conference in Munich.
In a blog post, the company said it was not replacing the subscription with adverts, but would instead be looking at ways for WhatsApp to let users “communicate with businesses and organizations that you want to hear from.”
WhatsApp provided a few examples of how this would work, including communicating with a bank about whether a transaction was fraudulent or with an airline about a delayed flight. The same type of features that Facebook is currently testing with its Messenger platform.
During Mark Zuckerberg’s Q2 2015 earnings call with investors, he said the company would engage in a period of trial and error with both Messenger and WhatsApp.
“What we decided was that over the long term, the ads and monetization would perform better if there was an organic interaction between people using the product and businesses,” Zuckerberg said. “So instead of focusing on ads first, what we did was we built pages, and we made that free, that way as many businesses as possible could get into the network.”
Facebook acquired WhatsApp for $19 billion in 2015.