The global social media giant Facebook is exploring investments in the regional content startups in India.
A media report citing sources said that the company is in early talks with several content startups, including PopXo for potential investments. It has reportedly met a few content startups over the past month and will continue such meetings this month.
It is being speculated that Facebook is also trying to figure out on how to structure investments in India. Interestingly, such investments in startups could be a first try for Facebook as the company usually buys out the companies it is interested in. Out of over 50 acquisitions, some of the most successful Facebook acquisitions have been WhatsApp and Instagram.
The report quoted experts to say that Facebook’s interest in investing in vertical content and news content startups could be because the company needs strong partners who will continue to build on its ecosystem and will also make Facebook a “trusted source of information”.
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The company is said to be looking at more sources of content and are also looking at moderating and controlling fake news, which is why they would want to look at more credible sources of content through these startups.
A Facebook spokesperson reportedly said the company works “with the entire content ecosystem in the country, including a wide variety of partners from movie studios, to TV networks and publishers to celebrities and creators and from large organizations to startups”.
The spokesperson did not comment on any potential investment plans in content startups. POPxo CEO Priyanka Gill also reportedly denied “any specific talks at the present.”
In 2018, vernacular content has been creating buzz, with several startups expanding their services to include regional languages beyond Hindi. According to a Sharechat report, 2018 was the year when for the first time internet users in great numbers accessed social media in their regional languages and participated actively in contributing to user generated content in native languages.
A study by KPMG India and Google said that Indian language internet users are expected to grow at a CAGR of 18% vs English users at a CAGR of 3%. As Facebook finds itself entangled in the general elections of India this year, the company’s vernacular reach may bring the trust it has lost over the past one year due to data scandals.
[The development was reported by Livemint.]