Facebook’s purchase of WhatsApp does a good job of showing just how much the wireless carriers failed to capitalize on messaging. It was their game to lose, with SMS built in as the default messaging client on just about every phone. If they had drastically lowered their prices, they could be where WhatsApp is today. Instead, a new report from Ovum Ltd. shows just how much carriers are losing each year to alternative messaging clients. More →
The popular WhatsApp messaging app got even more attention following the unexpected $19 billion Facebook purchase, with various reports revealing even more details about the company. Interestingly, Brian Acton’s tweets from previous years reveal some of the factors that led to the creation of WhatsApp. Before starting the venture with Jan Koum, Acton applied for jobs with both Twitter and Facebook… and both companies shot him down.
WhatsApp’s global success has been nothing short of epic, of course, By now, the app is hitting 450 million monthly active users. It’s a reach that nobody thought a sleek and simple text messaging app could ever achieve. But there is a problem with the messaging app market in general and all leading apps share the same core weakness. Consumers are really, really fickle in this particular product segment. This is not a market where one behemoth like Facebook can waltz in and simply displace its rivals. This is a market where even an 80% share of smartphone users offers no protection. More →
When WhatsApp launched in 2009, no one predicted that it would grow to be a multibillion-dollar company. However, Facebook on Wednesday said that it planned to buy the hugely popular social messaging app for a stunning $16 billion. In its official announcement, Facebook says that it will pay $4 billion in cash for WhatsApp plus $12 billion worth of Facebook shares. Facebook also says that “the agreement also provides for an additional $3 billion in restricted stock units to be granted to WhatsApp’s founders and employees that will vest over four years subsequent to closing.”
There are times when we think that Google and Facebook really want to be Santa Claus, i.e., they see you when you’re sleeping, they know when you’re awake, they know when you’ve been bad or good, etc. Facebook data scientist Carlos Diuk late last week revealed that Facebook has come up with a way to predict when you’re about to get into a relationship with someone based just on the number of interactions with them leading up to the time when you change your status from “single” to “in a relationship.” More →
Everyone hates spoilers, but now that Netflix is releasing entire seasons of shows overnight, it’s harder than ever to avoid them. Thankfully, Business Insider has drawn our attention to one mobile solution to the barrage of spoilers you can’t escape online. Spoiler Shield syncs with your Facebook and Twitter feeds and then gives you the option to decide which spoilers you want filtered from view. The app already has a relatively comprehensive list of shows and sports teams, so you won’t have to do any additional legwork. Posts that mention those shows or games will then be covered with a shield, but you can double tap a shielded tweet or Facebook post to reveal the message. The app is free for Android and iOS, so if you’re preparing for a weekend full of House of Cards, it might be safest to give Spoiler Shield a try.
New evidence that not everyone is cut out to be a parent emerged recently when a couple in Mexico named their newborn baby “Facebook.” The poor child, which will someday be the target of endless ridicule, is also now the target of a new federal law in Mexico that has banned parents from using any one of a collection of 61 different names when naming their children. The law banning the names went into effect on Monday after officials scoured baby registries across the country for the best of the worst. Among the banned names are “Facebook,” “Rambo,” “Juan Panties,” “Lady Di” and “Circuncision,” which translates to “Circumcision.” The Associated Press reports that the goal of the law is to help protect children from being ridiculed and bullied, and the very fact that such a law has to exist should frighten us all.
When you first got a Facebook account, you probably haphazardly friended everyone you knew from middle school, high school, college and work before considering the consequences. Years later, those coworkers and classmates are still posting quotes from celebrities every hour, on the hour, followed by pictures of memes from the darkest corners of the Internet, but you can’t bring yourself to unfriend them. What if they found out? Well now they don’t have to, thanks to the myriad options Facebook gives to ignore your friends. More →
It pains me greatly to acknowledge it, but blurting out whatever comes to mind on Twitter, Facebook or any number of social channels is a terrible idea. You already knew that, of course, but I’m talking about something more serious. Pecking out a furious tweet with a couple of typos is fairly embarrassing, but lately I’ve become fixated on the long-term consequences that are yet to be fully realized. It’s a notion I haven’t been able to shake since Justine Sacco was hastily fired from her job in December of 2013, and I’m not entirely certain that the world at large paused long enough to digest what that sequence of events truly described.
For those who were off preparing for the holidays, here’s a synopsis: Sacco fired off an admittedly less-than-glamourous tweet before boarding a long flight that was devoid of Wi-Fi. Hours before, she was relatively unknown from a celebrity standpoint. As she was passing through customs at her destination, it became clear that she no longer had a job.
Over the past few weeks, I’ve come to realize that her undoing wasn’t necessarily what she said, but where she said it. More →
Facebook on Thursday unveiled Paper, its own Flipboard-like news-and-social application that will launch on iPhone on February 3rd – an iPad-optimized version of the app has not been confirmed, and Android Paper plans are yet to become official. Just as previously rumored, Paper will include a variety of news sources, allowing users to customize their reading experience based on their specific preferences, but it will also compete directly against Facebook’s own mobile app. More →
More documents released by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden detail another bulk data collection spying initiative that consists of monitoring services like Facebook and Google’s YouTube and Blogger in order to accurately observe trends with the general, worldwide population, and even predict certain events. NBC News has obtained a copy of a presentation delivered by GCHQ to the NSA in 2012 that details a “Squeaky Dolphin” mass surveillance program – a real-time user and data collection initiative that monitors YouTube views, Facebook likes and Blogspot or Blogger visits for analysis. More →
Facebook has ambitions that go well beyond being just a social network. In fact, the company has designs on becoming a ubiquitous online powerhouse with clout that’s at least on par with Google. Sriram Krishnan, who works on Facebook’s mobile ads platform, now writes that he and his team are “running a small test to explore showing Facebook ads in third-party mobile apps,” which would represent a major expansion of Facebook’s reach in the mobile advertising world. More →
Earlier this week we highlighted a study from Princeton that used Google search trends to predict that Facebook would lose 80% of its users by 2017. The study seemed so flat-out ridiculous to us that we gave it our coveted “WTF of the Week” award… and apparently we weren’t alone in questioning its methodology. Facebook data scientist Mike Develin has decided to use similar methods to give Princeton a taste of its own medicine and “prove” that Princeton’s enrollment will crash all the way to zero in less than a decade. More →