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Facebook Acquires Stake in Indonesian eCommerce Platform Gojek, Expanding Presence in Developing Regions

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As Facebook continues to deal with questions about its content moderation approach, the platform is also working to add its next billion users, with the announcement that it’s acquired a stake in Indonesian eCommerce ‘super app’ Gojek.

Gojek

As per Facebook:

“Since launching its app in 2015, Gojek has helped bring hundreds of thousands of merchants onto its platform, giving them access to more than 170 million people across Southeast Asia. Its payments business processes billions of transactions each year and owns the largest e-wallet in Indonesia.”

As you can see in the screenshots above, Gojek facilitates food ordering​, shopping, commuting, and making digital payments, all within a simple app interface. The platform has become a key connection tool within the region, where its population is some 270 million people is gradually coming online, and becoming more connected to the evolving digital marketplace. 

The move will enable Facebook to link into this rising opportunity, with the capacity to provide advanced digital tools to help more Indonesian businesses maximize the opportunities of the digital age. That will also better ingratiate Facebook as a key platform within that economy, which it will then be able to use to connect more people, and maximize its own evolving eCommerce offerings.

And as per Facebook’s note above, it’s also key for Facebook to link into the rising use of digital payments in the region. Ideally, this would be where Facebook’s Libra would come in and help it become the dominant payments platform, offering free exchange within its apps. But Libra is still in development – yet, even without it, Facebook has been working to bring Facebook Pay to Indonesia for some time, and this investment will help advance those efforts.

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But like India, Facebook’s growth in Indonesia thus far hasn’t come easy. Many Indonesian officials are skeptical of the social giant and its intentions, and while WhatsApp is the most popular messaging app in the nation, Facebook has repeatedly seen its apps limited or restricted due to Indonesian Government concerns about their usage.

That’s what makes its investment in Gojek more important. By buying into a local company, Facebook is immediately able to link into a key service platform within the region, which will give it more footing from which to launch its own tools, and maximize its presence in the market.

Facebook’s taken a similar approach in India, where it recently purchased a $5.7 billion stake in local internet provider Reliance Jio. Rather than trying to force its own apps into the market, Facebook is looking to buy its way into existing platforms, from which it can establish stronger ties, and merge its tools into existing digital eco-systems.

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Given the audience numbers at stake (India is expected to reach 850 million internet users by 2022), the growth benefits for Facebook are clear, and it’ll be interesting to see how it’s able to develop dedicated eCommerce and digital marketing tools for these regions – and whether that accelerates Facebook’s broader eCommerce plans

If The Social Network can get it right, this could, indeed, help it bring in the next billion users, while it could also help establish Facebook as a key platform that facilitates the next stage of digital evolution in more emerging markets.

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Elon Musk’s Team Asks for More Data to Complete Assessment of Twitter Bots

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Elon Musk's Team Asks for More Data to Complete Assessment of Twitter Bots

Okay, let’s just check in on the latest with the Twitter/Elon Musk takeover saga, and where things are placed to close out the week.

According to the latest reports, Musk’s team recently asked Twitter for more tweet info, in order to help it make an accurate assessment of bot activity in the app. This comes after Musk questioned Twitter’s claim that bots and fake accounts make up only 5% of its active user base, and said that his Twitter takeover deal could not go ahead unless Twitter could produce more evidence to support this figure.

Which Twitter did, by providing Musk with access to its ‘full firehose’ of tweets over a given period, which it shared with Musk’s team back on June 8th. Musk’s group has now had that data for a couple of weeks, but this week, it said that this info is not enough to go on, and that it needs even more insight from Twitter to make its judgment.

And after initially resisting calls for more data access, Twitter has now reportedly relented and handed over more tweet data access to Musk’s team.

Which may or may not be a concern, depending on how you see it.

In its initial data dump, Twitter reportedly gave Musk’s team info on:

  • Total user tweets (within a given time period)
  • Data on which devices were used

As noted, Musk’s team says that this has not provided it with the insight that it needs to conduct an accurate analysis of potential bot activity, so Twitter has now provided Musk with more ‘real-time API data’.

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It’s not clear whether that means that Twitter has provided everything that its API systems can provide, but that could mean that Musk’s team can now access:

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  • Real-time info on tweet text and visual elements/attachments
  • Data on retweets, replies, and quote Tweets for each
  • Data on tweet author, mentioned users, tagged locations, hashtag and cashtag symbols, etc
  • Date, time, location, device info

That should satisfy any analytical needs to uncover potential bot trends, and get a better handle on Twitter’s bot problem, though it also means that Musk has all your tweet info – which, again, it’s worth noting, Twitter up till now had been hesitant to provide.

I’m sure it’s fine. Musk’s team is beholden to disclosure laws around such, so it’s not like they can do anything much with that info anyway, in a legal sense. But the idea that the sometimes erratic Elon Musk now has all the tweets could be a little concerning for some.

But Twitter likely had to provide what it can, and if Musk is going to become CEO of the app soon anyway, he’s going to have access to all of that data either way.

But still, given Musk and Co’s past history of undermining and attacking critics, sacking trouble maker employees and digging up potential dirt on rivals, it sits a little uneasy.

Should be fine. No problems – no need to go deleting all your DMs (which are likely not included in the data that Twitter has provided at this stage).

According to reports, Musk’s team says that it now has the info it needs to make its assessment of bot activity, which should see the deal move forward (or not) sometime soon.

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Of course, no one knows what exactly is going to happen next, and whether Musk’s team will look to renegotiate, or even back out of the deal entirely as a result of its bot analysis. But it does seem like, one way or another, Musk will be forced to go ahead with the $44 billion transaction, with Twitter’s past bot reporting methodology already accepted by the SEC, giving it legal grounding to argue that it’s acted in good faith, regardless of what Musk’s team finds.

The next steps then, according to Musk, would be securing debt financing and gaining Twitter shareholder approval, clearing the last hurdles for Musk to change the app’s name to ‘Telsla Social’, and add a million references to ‘420’ into the platforms various terms and conditions.

Because of the memes, because weed jokes are still funny to the richest man in the world – because he vacillates between inspired genius and a massive nerd who now gets to play out some fantasy of being cool.

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Or something. Who knows what goes on in Elon Musk’s head – which is also why most are hesitant to bet against him, as nobody knows if and how he might be able to fix Twitter, and whether this is a great investment or a massive disaster.

It seems like we may soon find out. Maybe. Who knows. Either way, the memes should be great.



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