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WhatsApp Pay Gains Approval for Expansion in India, Boosting Facebook’s eCommerce Push

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I another important step in Facebook’s ongoing efforts to become the critical tech infrastructure element in the emerging Indian market, the Indian Government has this week approved an expansion of payments within WhatsApp, opening the door for the next stage of Facebook’s eCommerce push.

Som rapporterats av TechCrunch:

“National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI), the body that operates the widely popular UPI payments infrastructure, said on Thursday evening that it has granted approval to WhatsApp to roll out UPI-powered payments in India.

That could provide new opportunities for Facebook to greatly expand its WhatsApp marketplace, which is already a significant element in the developing region. 

Indeed, WhatsApp, the most used messaging app in the nation, has become a central platform for its evolving eCommerce tools, and with payments now becoming more readily available, that will enable Facebook to fuel more business activity within the app.

Shortly after securing the new agreement, WhatsApp also announced the capacity to send payments within the app.

That’s also a key step – more money is sent into India via remittance, or transfers back to family and friends, than any other nation, according to the The World Bank. If Facebook can get more people transferring funds within the app, that will likely lead to more commerce activity, as the funds are already there, and transfers will become more commonplace, even habitual.

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Facebook has already invested big in the Indian market, buying a $US5.7 billion stake in local internet provider Reliance Jio back in April, as well as acquiring online shopping platforms like Meesho, which facilitates commerce in WhatsApp.

Meesho

If WhatsApp can also host more in-stream payments, it could become the critical connective app for the market, following the lead of Chinese messaging apps, like WeChat, which is now an essential companion for over a billion Chinese citizens as they go about their everyday lives.

Over the past few years, India has emerged as a key element in Facebook’s empire-expansion plans, with The Social Network working to gain approval from Indian regulators to expand its presence in the region, particularly in relation to in-stream payments and facilitating eCommerce.

Thus far, however, the company has come up against various roadblocks. Indian authorities blocked Facebook’s original ‘Free Basics’ program back in 2015 due to concerns around how Facebook was looking to dominate web access, while the Indian Government has also clashed with Facebook management at various points over the content it allows (and doesn’t) within the app. 

Given the dominance of Facebook in the social media market, Indian authorities are skeptical of ceding too much control over web access to the company. Yet, with WhatsApp, India seems more open. Which is why Facebook is now making a bigger push to increase its presence through its messaging app, which has already become a key communications and connection platform in the region.

Facebook had hoped to be able to boost its payments service by facilitating fee-free exchanges within its apps via its Libra cryptocurrency offering, but that program has faced its own difficulties, delaying its launch. Facilitating more payments within WhatsApp is essentially the next best thing, and while Facebook will still be beholden to local banking regulation, it will have increased capacity to introduce WhatsApp Pay to more users, which could quickly make it a key offering.

This may not have much impact in Western markets, but it’s a major development, and could be a major step in taking Facebook’s payments programs to the next level. If Facebook can become the digital connective element that links Indian citizens to payments, data collection, communications, Facebook essentially becomes the wallet of the next generation, a critical companion in all elements of daily life.

And with 1.3 billion citizens, and growing, that could give the company a major advantage.    

It’s still early days, but this will be a key area of focus for The Social Network moving forward.

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Socialmediatoday.com

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Instagram Launches New Hands-Free Recording Support for Samsung Flip Phones

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Instagram Launches New Hands-Free Recording Support for Samsung Flip Phones

Flip phones are back, with the early 2000’s trend inspiring a new range of advanced mobile devices from Samsung that provide alternative functionality, and have already caught on with many new fans.

And with this, Instagram is looking to move in line with the trend, with the addition of new hands-free creation options on Samsung Flip phones.

Som förklarat av Instagram:

“Alongside other Meta apps that are improved to work with these devices, Instagram will now adapt to and provide you with the best experience on these phones when you flip them. With FlexCam on Galaxy Z Flip4, you can fold the phone and place it on a surface freestanding to record hand-free videos. Now you can create Stories and Reels without a stand or tripod.”

As you can see from these images, the new flip phone functionality provides another way to capture IG content, with the flip display enabling easier set-up for still shots, by essentially including an in-built stand that can sit on flat surfaces.

Of course, users are able to utilize hands-free recording on IG already, with a ‘Hands Free’ mode built into the app’s camera tools. So functionally, it’s not a major advance, but it does provide another option for flip phone users, which could be of value for those that regularly record IG video, and want an easier way to create better, more stable shots at all times.

Instagram additionally notes that it’s working to further enhance its Android features, with improved load times and support for higher resolution videos. Those updates are still in development – but if you’re super cool and already have a new Samsung flip phone, you can start using this new hands-free functionality straight away.

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