Another tidbit around how WhatsApp’s incoming business accounts will function: According to a FAQ for users of the messaging platform — on “Chatting with businesses” — they will either have one of three status types: unconfirmed, confirmed or verified.
Business accounts that have yet to be confirmed or verified will have a gray question mark badge displayed in their profile. “This account is using the WhatsApp Business app, but hasn’t been confirmed nor verified by WhatsApp,” WhatsApp writes.
So these will be the business accounts to be most wary of, clearly.
Then next level is confirmed — denoted by a gray checkmark badge in the profile. “WhatsApp has confirmed that the phone number of this account matches the phone number for this business,” it says of this tier.
Finally there’s verified — which will be badged with a green checkmark, as we’ve previously reported. “WhatsApp has verified that an authentic brand owns this account,” is what the company says of this, though it’s not clear exactly what this extra verification stage involves. Nor whether this top tier will be reserved for business accounts that are paying a fee to use WhatsApp’s tools.
The messaging giant has long trailed that business accounts are incoming, as Facebook seeks to switch on monetization without out-and-out injecting ads into a platform whose founders vowed they never would. It has been actively testing the new account type since the summer.
In September it announced there will be a free app for small to medium businesses to use to reach customers. Though it’s still yet to confirm when this will launch. (At the time of writing WhatsApp had not responded to our questions.) Enterprises will have to pay to use the incoming business tools.
In an addendum at the end of the FAQ, WhatsApp further notes: “Business verification and confirmation don’t indicate an endorsement by WhatsApp” — suggesting it’s trying to steer clear of the sorts of problems Twitter has encountered with its own checkmark badge verification process for Twitter accounts which ran into controversy after users accused the company of effectively endorsing neo-nazis.
Last month Twitter responded to the backlash by changing its verification rules and starting to remove blue checkmarks from white supremacists.