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Facebook looks to cash in on WhatsApp, possibly without ads

The social networking giant wants to start making money off WhatsApp, with its massive base of 1 billion daily users.

EU investigating WhatsApp takeover by Facebook

Facebook purchased WhatsApp for $22 billion in 2014.

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Facebook is finally making plans to start making real money from WhatsApp.

The social networking giant snatched up WhatsApp in 2014 for a whopping $22 billion, but the popular messaging service still isn't making Facebook much cash despite WhatsApp's 1 billion daily users.

Now, Facebook is planning to charge businesses for WhatsApp services to help them connect with customers, The Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday. Facebook declined to describe the new features, but said they'll be available through the currently free tools WhatsApp offers to businesses. Those tools, already available in some countries, help companies answer customers' questions and send them updates. Users need to opt in to be contacted by companies.

The new features could help Facebook start building up WhatsApp as a stronger business, after it bought the messaging service mostly for its fast-growing user base. Also, if Facebook decides to charge businesses for services, it may help it avoid placing ads on WhatsApp.

Facebook makes most of its money off advertising and already expanded ads to Facebook Messenger and Instagram. Facebook didn't rule out ads on WhatsApp, but said it's now focusing on the business features, the Journal reported. The company declined to say when the paid features would debut.