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Meta launches free WhatsApp Cloud API

Free cloud-based API services will help businesses respond to customers quicker, Meta says

Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg has announced new free cloud-based API services for WhatsApp, as the company looks to drive business adoption of the messaging platform.

The new developer offering is essentially a cloud-based version of the company’s WhatsApp Business API for the enterprise, first introduced back in August 2018.

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Now, WhatsApp Cloud API is aiming to drive adoption of the platform among smaller businesses around the world, with an attractive integration time of just minutes rather than weeks.

Speaking at Meta’s Conversations event this week, Zuckerberg said this will enable businesses to connect with more potential customers in a way that is convenient for them.

“The best business experiences meet people where they are,” he said in his keynote speech. “Already, more than 1 billion users connect with a business account across our messaging services every week. They’re reaching out for help, to find products and services and to buy anything from big-ticket items to everyday goods.”

Meta added that businesses will only be able to message people through the platform if they have requested to be contacted – meaning users won’t need to worry about unsolicited communications.

There will also be a new optional premium service which will offer additional paid features for businesses. Still in development, these further capabilities will include the ability to manage up to 10 devices, as well as customized click-to-chat links that can be integrated into external company websites.

Ultimately, companies leveraging the WhatsApp Cloud API can build on top of WhatsApp’s foundations to provide a customised experience suited to customers, avoiding large server expenses in the process.

“Any business or developer can easily access our service, build directly on top of WhatsApp to customize their experience and speed up their response time to customers by using our secure WhatsApp Cloud API hosted by Meta,” Zuckerberg said.

“And this is an important step to help more businesses connect with people and help more people message the businesses that they want to support—big and small.”

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