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Facebook Gains Approval for WhatsApp Pay in Brazil, Nine Months After Initial Suspension

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Facebook’s eCommerce push has been given a boost with Brazilian regulators finally approving the company’s plans for facilitating payments within WhatsApp.

As reported by Reuters:

“Brazil’s central bank on Tuesday cleared the way for Facebook’s WhatsApp messaging service to let its users send each other funds using the Visa and Mastercard card networks, months after vetoing WhatsApp’s initial attempt.”

Indeed, Facebook initially announced the launch of WhatsApp payments in Brazil last June, the first step towards making the nation’s most popular messaging app into an eCommerce tool.

But a week later, the launch was shut down, with Brazilian regulators citing concerns about the impact on the local mobile payments space, and the capacity to “preserve an adequate competitive environment”. Nine months later, Brazilian regulators have finally approved Facebook’s plan, which could pave the way for the next big shift in WhatsApp use, and converting the app into an all-in-one connective powerhouse.

Building such capacity has become a key focus for Facebook, with the added ability to shop and make payments in the app extending its use case, and making it a more essential tool in some regions. Facebook’s also working to build the same capacity in India, where it’s hoping to make WhatsApp a critical tool in everyday life, and with payments now also available in Brazil, where WhatsApp has more than 120 million users, that’s another key step in building on the ubiquity of the app.

For many Brazilians, WhatsApp is already crucial. As per Statista, a survey conducted in January found that among Brazilian mobile internet users who had WhatsApp installed on their phones, 86% of respondents indicated that they use the app every day.

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With that level of usage, you can see why Facebook is so keen to expand the app’s use case, and facilitating funds transfers and payments will enable WhatsApp to lean further into the eCommerce shift, fueled by the pandemic, in order to build on that reliance and market presence.

Eventually, Facebook will be looking to open up more business options within WhatsApp, and connect more businesses into these markets. Payments is a big part of this, and today’s approval is a significant step in the next development of these tools.  

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Jack Dorsey Exits Twitter Board, Clearing the Way for the Elon Musk Era at the App

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Elon Musk Launches Hostile Takeover Bid for Twitter

While there’s no new news on the Elon Musk takeover saga, we do have another reminder that Twitter’s leadership team is never going to be the same, regardless of what comes next, with co-founder and former CEO Jack Dorsey today leaving the Twitter board, effective immediately.

Dorsey’s full exit removes another big chunk of experience from the company – over the past two weeks, Twitter has lost:

  • Consumer product leader Kayvon Beykpour, who’d worked at Twitter for four years
  • Head of revenue product Bruce Falck (5 years)
  • Ilya Brown, a VP of product management (6 years)
  • Katrina Lane, VP of Twitter Service (1 year)
  • Max Schmeiser, head of data science (2 years)

That said, Dorsey’s move, isn’t a surprise.

Back in November, when Dorsey announced that he was standing down as Twitter CEO, he also noted that he would stay on Twitter’s board till around ‘May-ish’ to help incoming CEO Parag Agrawal and incoming Twitter Board chair Bret Taylor with their respective transitions.

Of course, back then, Dorsey couldn’t have predicted the chaos on the horizon, but despite the distractions of an imminent takeover, Dorsey has decided to stick with his original plan, and step away from the platform that he helped build.

That clears the path for a new era under Elon Musk, who has vowed to make significant changes to the way that Twitter operates – though of late, Musk seems to be more distracted by stats on population decline and political conspiracies than he does in completing the Twitter deal.

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On May 13th, Musk said that his Twitter takeover offer was effectively ‘on hold’ pending more data from Twitter on its fake profile count, which it pegs at 5% of active users. Many users have since shared partial evidence that, in their opinion, proves that this number is not correct, while Twitter itself has maintained that there’s no such thing as ‘on hold’ in the takeover process, and that it’s preparing for the deal to close sometime soon.

Musk says that he won’t pay full price for something that’s not what he believed he was purchasing.

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But then again, Musk also waived doing detailed due diligence on Twitter’s business, in order to reach an agreement faster, which means that he may be tied to the purchase anyway, regardless of what Twitter or anyone else may find here.

For his part, Dorsey has been a strong advocate for Musk, and his interest in Twitter, and has noted several times that he believes Musk is the best option to ‘save’ the company.

Now Dorsey is getting out of the way to let that happen, which will mean that none of Twitter’s four founders remain in any position to advise or guide the platform in any direct capacity from now on.

That could be a good thing. Twitter, of course, is a far cry from what it was in the beginning, and maybe now it needs to detach from its founding concepts to reach its next stage.

But again, that’s a lot of experience heading out the door, with current CEO Agrawal also on the chopping block, according to Musk’s statements.

How that impacts Twitter’s future direction is hard to say. Again, Musk has already flagged significant changes, but without experienced voices advising him on what’s happened in the past, he could be doomed to repeat previous mistakes, impeding the company’s progress even more.

Or maybe it makes things easier, without the constraints of past limitations holding things up. I would lean towards the former, but clearly, Musk has his own ideas about how he’s going to transform the app, once he does, eventually, take control.

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Which seems like more of a ‘when’ than ‘if’, but maybe Musk has some other trick up his sleeve to either reduce his offer price or get out of the Twitter deal entirely.

Either way, massive changes are coming to the app, which could alter the way that it’s used entirely.

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