Jul 25, 2017

Facebook is ready to make money on messaging

Everyone thinks of Facebook as a social media behemoth, but they're actually much more dominant in messaging and ready to start making money on it. The company announced last week ads on Facebook Messenger globally. Reports are also out that Facebook is hiring talent to "lead product development on our monetization efforts" for WhatsApp, a messaging app popular in Europe that Facebook bought in 2014 for $19 billion.

Why it matters: People use messaging apps more than social media apps and Facebook owns an overwhelming majority of that market. (Facebook-owned WhatsApp is the number one messaging app in 107 countries around the world, and Facebook's Messenger is number one in 58 countries, according to a SimilarWeb study.)

Data: eMarketer, Line, Tencent, pymnts.com; Chart: Lazaro Gamio / Axios

Facebook is reportedly building a standalone app that "incorporates ideas" from Houseparty, the video chatting app that's a huge hit amongst Gen Z, and they've been able to curb Snapchat's user growth by adopting Snapchat-like features on Facebook and Instagram.

U.S. competition: Last week it was reported that Amazon is also working on stand-alone messaging app called Anytime, that would rival Facebook's Messenger via a connected desktop and mobile experience.

Global competition: Chinese tech Giant Tencent has an effective monopoly over the Chinese messaging market via its popular app, WeChat and it looks like it's going to stay that way. Last week China blocked most WhatsApp services, like photo, video and voice messages, within the country.

Go Deeper: The Washington Post's Head of Commercial Product and Technology Jarrod Dicker writes for Medium: How We Should Be Thinking About Advertising In Bot and Messenger Apps

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NYT: Popular ToTok messaging app is secretly an Emirati spying tool

Mohammed bin Zayed, the crown prince of Abu Dhabi. Photo: Liewig Christian/Corbis via Getty Images

The supposedly secure messaging app ToTok is actually a spying tool being used by the government of the United Arab Emirates to mass surveil its users, the New York Times reports, citing its own internal investigation and U.S. officials familiar with a classified intelligence assessment.

Why it matters: The app has been downloaded by millions of users in the Middle East, North America, Europe, Asia and Africa, and it was one of the most downloaded social apps in the U.S. last week. Its exploitation by the Emiratis is an illustration of how authoritarian governments are increasingly finding novel and more effective ways to expand their surveillance networks and crack down on perceived enemies or dissenters.

Go deeperArrowDec 22, 2019

Exclusive: Facebook adding part-time fact-checking contractors

Photo: Thomas Trutschel/Photothek via Getty Images

Facebook is creating a new pilot program in the U.S. that will leverage part-time contracted "community reviewers" to expedite its fact-checking process.

The big picture: The community reviewers will help to corroborate or debunk stories that Facebook's machine learning tools flag as potential misinformation. This will make it easier for Facebook's fact-checking partners to quickly debunk false claims.

Go deeperArrowDec 17, 2019

Facebook won't stop letting politicians lie in ads

Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Anyone who was waiting for Facebook to change its controversial political ad policies — particularly the one that allows politicians to lie with impunity — will have to keep waiting, the company made clear Thursday.

Driving the news: Facebook released a raft of small changes to its rules around political ads, including giving consumers the option to block political ads from their feeds.

Go deeperArrowJan 9, 2020