By Barb Darrow
August 30, 2017

WhatsApp, the popular messaging app is getting more serious. The company is pilot testing the idea of verifying accounts for select businesses, according to the WhatsApp web page.

Businesses that make the cut will get a big green checkmark icon which, in theory, means they are who they say they are. Well, more accurately, it means that the phone number they provide to WhatsApp belongs to a business. It was unclear if any other verification processes will be used.

But, according to WhatsApp, conversations with a verified account holder cannot be deleted. Interestingly, one of WhatsApp’s biggest selling points to date is that privacy-obsessed users can vaporize their chats so there is no trace. And yet, there is also evidence that more users are turning to WhatsApp for other things, like keeping up with breaking news.

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Facebook bought WhatsApp for a whopping $19 billion three years ago. Since that time, the chat giant, which offers its mobile app for free, has been trying to figure out how to make money off it. Although as TechCrunch points out, it has thus far refused to put advertisements in its app.

WhatsApp, like its parent company, is trying to figure out how to take a consumer product and make it more business friendly. Facebook (fb) and WhatsApp are also sharing more features. Last week, for example, VentureBeat reported that WhatsApp just got the colorful user status updates that Facebook has offered for months.

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