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WhatsApp by Meta Launches New AI Tool for Businesses

WhatsApp by Meta Launches New AI Tool for Businesses

Meta launched its first AI-driven ad targeting program for businesses on WhatsApp, aiming to monetize the popular chat service. CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced the new tools in a video at a conference in Brazil on Thursday.

This marks a significant shift for WhatsApp, known for its strong privacy credentials and historically avoiding targeted advertising like Meta’s other platforms, Facebook and Instagram. Over the years, WhatsApp has introduced commerce and payment features, including business messaging tools for customer service and marketing to users who have opted in.

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Previously, these tools were used broadly, sending messages to all opted-in users. The new AI tools, however, will leverage behavior on Facebook and Instagram to target messages to users most likely to respond, provided they use the same phone number across accounts. Guilherme Horn, WhatsApp’s head of strategic markets, told Reuters that these AI tools would optimize ad delivery, ensuring businesses get the best return on their investment.

Despite WhatsApp’s massive daily user base and its $22 billion acquisition cost in 2014, it has contributed minimally to Meta’s revenue. Meta is now intensifying efforts to generate income from WhatsApp.

At the conference, Meta also introduced an AI chatbot for business inquiries, aligning with Zuckerberg’s vision of automating business communications. This chatbot will assist with tasks like finding catalogs and consulting business hours, akin to existing AI customer service platforms.

Additionally, Meta announced the integration of Brazil’s digital payment method PIX into WhatsApp’s payment tool in the country. PIX, developed by Brazil’s central bank, accounted for about 39% of transactions in Brazil last year and offers similar services to WhatsApp’s payment tool, such as money transfers and purchases from companies. This follows WhatsApp’s integration of rival payment services in India last year.