Wednesday August 21, 2019
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Facebook Will Soon Launch Digital Payment Service In India

Facebook sets eye on India to monetise messaging through digital payment service

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facebook to launch a new service
Mark Zuckerberg has new ideas for Facebook and its 'Family' services. Pixabay

Mark Zuckerberg is determined to converge all his platforms – Facebook, WhatsApp, Messenger and Instagram — for a unified experience for billions of users and India which is the largest market for some of its services, including WhatsApp, is going to play a critical role in the success of social networking giant’s new monetization mission.

According to the company, more than 2.1 billion people now use Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp or Messenger every day on average, and more than 2.7 billion people use at least one of its ‘Family’ of services each month.

In India, Facebook has over 300 million users, WhatsApp another 400 million and Instagram over 70 million (millennials are the largest user group).

In recent communications, Zuckerberg has talked about merging many of its services so that people can message seamlessly across platforms.

About one-fourth of WhatsApp’s 1.5 billion users are in India. It is, therefore, no surprise, that Facebook chose the Indian market to test-run its digital payment service, before rolling out similar experiments in other countries.

After about one and a half years of test run, WhatsApp is now close to launch its Pay service later this year which could dominate the payment economy, given the fact that almost every Indian who has a smartphone or a Jio phone seems to have taken a liking for WhatsApp despite all the flak it received for its failure to effectively contain the spread of fake news.

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Facebook to monetise messaging and launch a digital payment service in India. Pixabay

WhatsApp also launched a separate app for businesses last year and while the company is yet to disclose the exact number of businesses using the service, they are in millions globally.

While WhatsApp for Business app is free to download, Facebook is trying to find ways to monetise this service by bringing traffic from its other platforms.

“We helped businesses make the shift to mobile and now we are helping them shift to Stories, video and eventually messaging,” Facebook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg said during the earnings call with analysts after the second-quarter results.

An integrated messaging ecosystem plus a payment service may open the doors for various other services, including shopping, for Facebook in India in the near future.

With its photo-sharing app Instagram, Facebook has, in fact, dabbled into shopping in a limited way.

“It’s early days for shopping on Instagram, but we’re excited about this over the long run,” Sandberg revealed.

“In the future, we’ll enable people to use the same payments account to send money to friends and businesses on WhatsApp, shop on Instagram, or make transactions on Facebook,” Zuckerberg said.

The challenge for Facebook would be to get the next billion users to its platform as about 2.7 billion people today use the Facebook app, or the Facebook-owned Instagram, WhatsApp, or Messenger each month out of about 3.8 billion people who are connected to the Internet in the world.

Facebook sets eye on India to monetise messaging
Facebook has over 2 billion active users monthly. Pixabay

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Zuckerberg knows it well that it cannot get the next billion users if it ignores India as more than half a billion people in the country are yet to go online.

Another challenge would be to retain the people who are already in its network, especial in view of the growing popularity of the Chinese short video-sharing app TikTok in India.

The good news is that it has continued to grow despite all the challenges it has faced in the past 15 years of its existence, including the Cambridge Analytica scandal.

Even its revenue has grown, so has its expenses, especially due to the historic $5 billion settlement that it has reached with US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) due to privacy concerns.

Facebook expects its full-year 2019 expenses to grow to 61 per cent compared to last year and the expense linked to FTC settlement alone accounts for close to 16 percentage points of this anticipated expense growth.

In fact, besides increasing expenses, the focus on privacy could slow the process of rolling out new products for the social networking giant.

For Facebook, the need to create a new robust market is now. India is set to inspire some of its innovations. (IANS)

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Posting Selfies Seen as People Being Insecure & Less Likeable

According to some researchers, people who post selfies are seen as insecure and less likeable by others

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Individuals who post a lot of selfies are almost uniformly viewed as less likeable, less successful, more insecure and less open to new experiences than individuals who share a greater number of posed photos taken by someone else. Pixabay

Even though selfies are popular, researchers say that those who post selfies are viewed as less likeable, less successful and more insecure. Published in the Journal of Research in Personality, the scientists conducted a novel experiment with hundreds of actual Instagram users to determine if there are certain types of self-image posts that cause others to make snap judgements about the user’s personality.

Their work shows that individuals who post a lot of selfies are almost uniformly viewed as less likeable, less successful, more insecure and less open to new experiences than individuals who share a greater number of posed photos taken by someone else.

“Even when two feeds had similar content, such as depictions of achievement or travel, feelings about the person who posted selfies were negative and feelings about the person who posted posies were positive,” said study lead author Chris Barry, professor at Washington State University.

“It shows there are certain visual cues, independent of context, that elicit either a positive or negative response on social media,” Barry said.

For the study, the research team analysed data from two groups of students. The first group, consisting of 30 undergraduates, were asked to complete a personality questionnaire and agreed to let the researchers use their 30 most recent Instagram posts for the experiment.

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For the study, the research team analysed data from two groups of students. Pixabay

The second group of students consisted of 119 undergraduates. This group was asked to rate the Instagram profiles of the first group on 13 attributes such as self-absorption, low self-esteem, extraversion and success, using only the images from those profiles.

The research team then analysed the data to determine if there were visual cues in the first group of students’ photos that elicited consistent personality ratings from the second group.

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It was also found that the students who posted more posies were viewed as being relatively higher in self-esteem, more adventurous, less lonely, more outgoing, more dependable, more successful and having the potential for being a good friend, while the reverse was true for students with a greater number of selfies on their feed.

Personality ratings for selfies with a physical appearance theme, such as flexing in the mirror, were particularly negative, the researchers found. (IANS)