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WhatsApp’s New Privacy Policy Update Faces Resistance in India, Europe

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The roll-out of WhatsApp’s controversial new privacy policy doesn’t appear to be going any better the second time around, with the Indian Government calling on the messaging giant to withdraw the change, and German regulators seeking an EU-wide ban on the update, amid widespread concern around the implications of its new data-sharing processes.

As you may recall, back in January, WhatsApp notified users of a coming change in its data sharing policy which would see some info on people’s interactions with businesses in WhatsApp shared with parent company Facebook, in order to provide more functionality for business users.

WhatsApp Privacy Update

The prompts sparked a major backlash against the app, with many users misinterpreting the change to mean that all of their WhatsApp info, including the content of their private message threads, would be shared with Zuck and Co. direct.

Which is not now, and never was the case – but that specific detail got lost in the shuffle, as millions took to downloading alternative messaging apps like Signal and Telegram in an effort to avoid the change. That pushed both of those apps to the top of the download charts, and forced Facebook to launch an all-out PR blitz to better explain the update, which included full-page newspaper ads explaining the update in India’s major dailies.

Finally, however, Facebook announced that it would delay the change and re-think its process, in an effort to placate its increasingly disgruntled user base.

At that time, Facebook said that it would do “a lot more to clear up the misinformation” around how privacy and security works in the app, which it hoped would clarify the detail of the update, and eventually, enable it to move ahead. Facebook needs to update its policy in order to maximize its revenue opportunities through WhatsApp, with the change paving the way for more in-app shopping and eCommerce transactions in the messaging app, while also providing more capacity for brands to set up business profiles on the platform.

Over the last few weeks, WhatsApp users have been gradually seeing the privacy update alert prompts once again, outlining the pending update – and while WhatsApp has softened the language in its new explanations, the basic premise is still the same. Users need to agree to share some data with Facebook – which entirely relates to business interactions in WhatsApp – or they’ll, eventually, be unable to use the messaging app.

WhatsApp privacy update

In terms of data sharing, it’s not a highly controversial, nor intrusive update. But still, it’s enough to raise the hackles of many users.

India’s Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MEITY), in response to the concerns of Indian citizens, has now demanded that Facebook abandon the planned update, or face restrictions in the nation.

As reported by The Next Web:

“MEITY has given WhatsApp seven days to respond to this notice with a deadline of 25 May. It added that if the response from the Facebook-owned company is not satisfactory, the government can take lawful actions against the social networking giant.”

The request is not a huge surprise, given that the Indian Government made the same demand back in January, in response to Facebook’s original announcement. But it will be a big concern for The Social Network.

India is WhatsApp’s biggest user market, with more than 459 million active local users, and a key motivation for this new change is to facilitate WhatsApp’s growing business offerings in the region. If Facebook can transform WhatsApp into the key app for a wide range of functions among Indian users, including eCommerce and other business transactions, that will position the company for huge growth in the rapidly expanding Indian tech sector, and facilitate direct monetization of WhatsApp for the first time.

Which Facebook has been pushing for since acquiring the platform back in 2014. Direct ads in message threads, Facebook’s found, don’t work, while other options like ads in WhatsApp Status, the app’s own Stories-like offering, have also been abandoned.

So it needs this shift to monetize – and with the Indian Government pushing back, and calling for Facebook to abandon the change entirely, that will cause big headaches within Facebook HQ, as it looks to find a solution to address MEITY’s concerns.

German officials have also opposed the update – and even banned the update entirely at one stage, due to concerns over what the change may mean for user privacy.

As noted, now German regulators are seeking an EU-wide ban via the European Data Protection Board, which could mean that the change has to be dropped in Europe either way, which would further dent Facebook’s planned evolution as a result of the change.

And this is all aside from the individual users who are downloading alternative messaging apps, once again, in response to concerns. Again, Facebook has repeatedly reiterated that the change does not relate to information shared in private message threads, and does not compromise WhatsApp’s end-to-end encryption.

But when you build an app focused on privacy, and encourage users to share whatever they like, with no threat of outside access, as Facebook is now learning, people take that commitment seriously. And it could end up stalling the project altogether.

Which would be a massive blow to Facebook’s growth plans, and its effort to transform WhatsApp into the essential app in various regions. I mean, it already is for many users, but in order for Facebook to make any money out of that, it needs to integrate these new business tools, and it needs to update its policy to facilitate such in the most direct and responsive way. 

There are other ways around this, but they’ll take a lot more effort, and a lot more development on Facebook’s end. And with the company also planning the full integration of its messaging apps, it’s going to have to update its policies even further at some stage, so it has to clarify a way forward, one way or another.

But the outlook remains cloudy for the update, and Facebook will have some negotiating on its hands to get it through.

It’s definitely not a done deal yet, and it’ll be interesting to see how Facebook looks to progress to the next stage of the plan.

Socialmediatoday.com

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How to Successfully Use Social Media: A Small Business Guide for Beginners [Infographic]

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How to Successfully Use Social Media: A Small Business Guide for Beginners [Infographic]

Are you a small business owner or marketing manager, just getting started on building your social media strategy? Need to learn the basics before launching your first social media campaign?

In this infographic, Sprout Social shares social media tips broken down as follows:

  • Who uses social media?
  • What does social media do for you?
  • Define your goals
  • Targeting your audience
  • Choosing a platform
  • Social media metrics

Check out the infographic below to learn more.

How to Successfully Use Social Media: A Small Business Guide for Beginners

Sprout Social

 

 

 

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Moore Digital Names Two Executives To Serve Nonprofit Fundraisers 02/07/2023

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Moore Digital Names Two Executives To Serve Nonprofit Fundraisers 02/07/2023

Moore Digital, which assists nonprofit clients with fundraising, has named Adva Priso as chief strategy officer and Bonnie Huey as senior vice president of
digital media.

They are joining a team of “more than 70 top digital experts from across the for-profit and nonprofit industries, including strategists,
media planners and …



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Pinterest Now up to 450 Million Active Users, Posts Solid Numbers in Latest Performance Report

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Pinterest Now up to 450 Million Active Users, Posts Solid Numbers in Latest Performance Report

Pinterest has posted its Q4 and full-year earnings for 2022, showing steady increases in both users and revenue, as it continues to build out its various offerings.

First off, on users, Pinterest added five million more active users – most of them coming from Europe – within the final measurement period of last year.

That’s a good sign for Pinterest, which actually lost users in early 2021, after the COVID-induced boom in eCommerce activity of the previous year, which saw the platform post record high usage numbers.

Many analysts and businesses seemed convinced that the COVID boost to online shopping would hold, even after the pandemic ended. That lead to companies like Meta, Google, Amazon and Twitter investing big into commerce solutions – but many of the staff they put on were eventually culled in the most recent round of lay-offs, because once physical stores re-opened, people actually did go back to shopping as normal, as opposed to continuing to rely on online options.

Pinterest felt that the most, but now, it’s steadily building back up again, as it continues to refine its solutions around evolving shopping behaviors. Which includes video content.

Pinterest’s big winner on this front has been Idea Pins, its Stories-like option which presents uploaded video in a swipeable, full-screen display.

Pinterest Ideas Festival updates

The emphasis on this format has helped boost the platform’s appeal with younger audiences, with Pinterest reporting that Gen Z was the fastest-growing demographic on the platform, increasing double digits year over year.

“Gen Z sessions grew much faster year over year than sessions from older demographics, while nearly half of all new videos pinned in Q4 were from Gen Z users.”

Pinterest also says that sessions continued to grow faster than MAUs, an indicator that it’s driving better engagement overall, while it also increased its overall video supply by 30%, another marker of the popularity of Idea Pins.

Because you can’t post video as a native pin anymore, only in Idea Pins (or paid ads), underlining the focus on the format, and Pinterest’s evolving usage.  

On the revenue front, Pinterest posted a 4% year-over-year increase, after bringing in $877 million Q4.

Pinterest Q4 2022

As you can see in this chart, Pinterest’s revenue is climbing steadily, though its revenue splits remain concerning:

Pinterest Q4 2022

Or maybe you see this as an opportunity, with Pinterest still able to potentially eek out a lot more revenue from regions outside of the North American market. Definitely, it’s got some work to do in that ‘Rest of World’ bracket.

But Pinterest is still developing, and is still expanding its ad and business offerings into new regions. So there is, indeed, potential there – yet the size of the gap here is a concern.

Still, there is growth, slowly but surely, and maybe, if you’re a believer, you can see more ways for Pinterest to generate much bigger revenues moving forward.

Pinterest remains focused on shopping, and highlighting relevant products to users, with its ever-evolving recommendation engine providing better content matches to more users every day. It’s also investing in live-stream shopping, a trend that all platforms hope will catch on in western markets, while it’s developing more presentation tools for Idea Pins to capitalize on that engagement.

In combination, these approaches are working – but at the same time, usage growth in your local market may have stalled, going on these charts.

And of course, while overall growth is interesting, what marketers want to know is whether their customers are there.

For this, you can use Pinterest Trends, which enables you to search for the most popular Pin trends by region.

Pinterest Trends

Tap into these with Idea Pins and you’ll likely be on the right path, based on these latest insights from the app.

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