Citizens' Issues
Facebook may allow businesses to use WhatsApp
Facebook might soon allow businesses to interact with users of popular messaging service WhatsApp.
 
"We think that enabling that B2C (business-to-consumer) messaging has good business potential for us," Facebook chief financial officer David Wehner was reported as saying by Mashable.
 
"As we learn those things, I think there's going to be opportunities to bring some of those things to WhatsApp, but that's more longer term," Wehner said at a tech conference in Boston recently.
 
Facebook purchased WhatsApp for $21.8 billion last year. With 800 million users now, WhatsApp has grown rapidly since 2009, particularly in Europe and parts of Asia.
 
But profit remains elusive for WhatsApp. In October, Facebook disclosed that WhatsApp made nearly $16 million in revenues during the first half of 2014 but lost $232 million during the same period, mostly from stock-related expenses.
 
The situation looked pretty similar for 2013, when the company generated $10.2 million in revenues for the year but lost $138 million, also from stock-related expenses.
 
Given that history, it makes sense for Facebook to consider a B2C feature for WhatsApp, where it charges businesses for access to users. The service obviously has huge global reach, and Facebook already has some businesses, including Everlane and Zulily, engaging with customers via Messenger.
 
WhatsApp has so far largely stayed away from advertising and games which could rake in some moolah for it.
 
Meanwhile, Mark Zuckerberg has said he is in no rush to transform services like WhatsApp into businesses until they hit one billion users. The news is, WhatsApp could hit that milestone by end of 2015.

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IAF Sukhoi SU-30 combat jetcrashes in Assam, pilots safe

The aircraft had taken off from the Tezpur air base "on a routine mission", an official said

 

A frontline Sukhoi SU-30MKI combat jet of the Indian Air Force (IAF) crashed in Assam's Nagaon district at 12.30 p.m. on Tuesday, an official said, adding that both pilots had ejected and were safe.
 
The aircraft had taken off from the Tezpur air base "on a routine mission", the official said. 
 
"After take off, the aircraft had developed a technical snag and the pilot was forced to abandon the aircraft. Both the pilots ejected. The ejection was safe and the aircraft crashed at 1230 hours...in a thick forest near Tezpur. 
 
"A Court of Inquiry has been ordered to ascertain the cause of the accident," Group Captain Amit Mahajan, the defence ministry PRO in Shillong, said in a statement.
 

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Gas tanker blast kills two in Mumbai

The incident took place at Chembur in north-east Mumbai

 

Two people were killed and one injured when an empty gas tanker exploded suddenly in a garage here on Tuesday, officials said.
 
The incident took place at Chembur in north-east Mumbai. 
 
According to the BMC Disaster Control, some maintenance and welding work was underway on the tanker.
 
Some residual gas trapped in the tanker may have been ignited by the welding flames and is believed to have caused the huge explosion.
 
Two people, including an 18-year old garage hand Shafiq Shaikh and another 45-year-old unidentified person, a vehicle cleaner, were killed in the blast.
 
A bystander was seriously injured and has been rushed to a local hospital, officials said.
 
There was no fire or damage to any building in the vicinity though an overhead powerline of Tata Power was broken.
 

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