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CiviCRM SMS integration is a powerful feature. However, with many people moving to use instant messaging services like WhatsApp, has there been any move to integrate CiviCRM with and instant messenger, in particular, WhatsApp? Our organization has recently moved its bulk SMS database over to WhatsApp, as 90% of our members use WhatsApp. Being a non-profit, we gain from not having to pay for sending bulk SMS's.

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  • No studies have been done on this subject since 2015? Feb 22, 2020 at 10:44

5 Answers 5

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This is an old topic but still a good one. It seems that it moved a bit in the messaging environment and that one can actually communicate through third-part services with Whatsapp:

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They haven't been any to my knowledge, but assuming whatsapp as an api to post messages, it shouldn't be too complicated to implement.

If you are interested, you could write an extension and use the searchtask hook to add a "send via whatsapp" action http://wiki.civicrm.org/confluence/display/CRMDOC/hook_civicrm_searchTasks

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Regarding whatsapp I have been looking into that recently and I discovered that WhatsApp doesn't offer an API. So it is not possible to send or receive messages to/from whatsapp in CiviCRM.

However it is possible to hack around this. You could create your own android app for sending whatsapp messages and then you run this app on your phone and this app talks to whats app on your phone. And CiviCRM talks to this app. This is how it might work however it is against the policy of whats app. So there is a risk that your whats app account might be blocked.

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  • Thanks for the response and the ideas. I just wish WhatsApp would expose an API. Anyway, I have been searching on the web and found this on Github: link
    – Sudesh
    May 6, 2015 at 18:48
  • "T&C: You will NOT use this API for marketing purposes (spam, massive sending...)." - this still applies, even if you're a non-profit. Sep 8, 2015 at 23:28
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Looks like bulk SMS via WhatsApp is excluded from their Terms of Service and that doing so will result in disconnection.

Free messaging services are popular with spammers for obvious reasons, and WhatsApp will be doing their utmost to avoid their service being used in a way that doesn't suit their profile.

I predict that any bulk WhatsApp integration implemented can anticipate a game of "cat and mouse" with the WhatsApp developers. If pursuing that path, budget accordingly - paid SMS may not be so expensive after all.

If WhatsApp decide in future to allow promoted messages, they'll price it accordingly. The lack of bulk messaging in the platform (notwithstanding infrequent abuse attempts & hasty shutdown) is a feature to them.

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  • NB: I'm not calling you a spammer here; I don't know you. But I suspect WhatsApp have no interest in permitting "good" causes to use their service in a way they don't support, and don't want you to burn money and fail :) Sep 8, 2015 at 23:37
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Clickatell (for which there is already an sms integration with civicrm) also offers whatsapp support.

It would be great if the existing civicrm extension (https://github.com/veda-consulting/org.civicrm.sms.clickatell) could be extended for whatsapp support!

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