WhatsApp may be eating away the time Indians spend on other social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram, making them less profitable for the company, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has admitted in a conference call with analysts.
Facebook-owned WhatsApp is one of the most popular social networking platforms in India with industry experts reportedly pegging its reach at 300 Mn users. According to market research portal Statista, Facebook has around 300 Mn users in India.
Speaking after Facebook’s quarterly earnings call, Zuckerberg, recognised the risk of WhatsApp because of its non-monetised nature. He, however, added that building out this private social platform is a much greater opportunity than it is a risk
“WhatsApp’s usage and engagement are phenomenal, but I don’t know how it can be monetised. Facebook isn’t as happening as it used to be, but it is still the largest social media network,” Karthik Srinivasan, a communications consultant told Economic Times.
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Concerns Around Privacy
WhatsApp enjoys such a huge user base in India because of its end-to-end encryption which makes it a secure platform to communicate.
While admitting that privacy is a prime factor in the mass acceptance of Whatsapp, Zuckerberg told analysts that, “Over time there’s an even bigger opportunity with the digital living room to build a platform focused on privacy”.
“I think we should focus our efforts on building this privacy-focused platform,” he added.
In the conference call, Zuckerberg also gave a clue to his stand against data localisation without taking any names, and said: “You should expect that we won’t store sensitive data in countries where it might be improperly accessed because of weak rule of law or governments that can forcibly get access to your data.”
Last year a WhatsApp spokesperson said, “Building traceability would undermine end-to-end encryption and the private nature of WhatsApp, creating the potential for serious misuse. WhatsApp will not weaken the privacy protections we provide.”
But with such a huge user base and little to no oversight, fake news spreads like a wildfire on these platforms. It was in the past few months that Facebook and r have upped the ante against fake news and have started taking concrete actions towards making these platforms a cleaner place this elections season.