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Exclusive: WhatsApp in talks to launch mobile payments in Indonesia - sources

Fanny Potkin
AUGUST 20, 2019 / 2:27 PM

JAKARTA (Reuters) - Facebook Inc’s (FB.O) messaging service WhatsApp is in talks with multiple Indonesian digital payment firms to offer their mobile transaction services, in a bid to tap the nation’s fast growing e-commerce sector, people familiar with the matter said.

Indonesia could become the second country worldwide where WhatsApp introduces such services, as it awaits regulatory approval from India, its biggest market by users, that has been delayed due to local data storage rules.

But unlike in India where it plans to offer direct peer-to-peer payment services, WhatsApp will simply serve as a platform in Indonesia supporting payments via local digital wallets due to tough licensing regulations, the sources told Reuters.

The Indonesia model could become a template for Whatsapp to adopt in other emerging markets to get around regulations on foreign players creating their own digital wallets, the sources said.

Indonesia, home to 260 million people and Southeast Asia’s largest economy, is one of the top-five markets globally for Whatsapp, with over 100 million users.

The nation is set to see its e-commerce industry tripling to $100 billion by 2025, according to some estimates, but it also has some of the region’s strictest digital payments regulations.

WhatsApp is in advanced talks with several digital payments firms including ride hailer Go-Jek, mobile payments firm DANA, backed by China’s Ant Financial, and fintech startup OVO, which is owned by Indonesian conglomerate Lippo Group and is also backed by ride hailing company Grab, the sources said.

Deals with the three firms are expected to be finalised shortly, the people said, declining to be named as the talks are private.

WhatsApp has also approached state-owned Bank Mandiri (BMRI.JK), which operates a digital wallet, they said.

The Indonesia plan comes after Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced earlier this year that it would be rolling out WhatsApp payments to “some countries”.

“As Mark has said earlier this year... we are looking to bring digital payments to more countries,” a Facebook spokeswoman told Reuters.

“WhatsApp is in conversations with financial partners in Indonesia about payments, however the discussions are in early stages and we do not have anything further to share at this stage.”

More details in https://www.reuters.com/article/us-whats...SKCN1VA0KG
Specuvestor: Asset - Business - Structure.
although big news in their own right, can't help but think they're trial runs for the world currency LIBRAAA
better watch my data. maybe "no choice" but to pay for convenience with privacy again.
Facebook agrees to acquire brain-computing start-up CTRL-labs
* Facebook on Monday announced the acquisition of CTRL-labs, a New York startup that specializes in allowing humans to control computers using their brains.
* The size of the deal was between $500 million and $1 billion, sources familiar with the matter told CNBC. A Facebook spokesperson said it was lower than $1 billion.

Salvador Rodriguez
PUBLISHED MON, SEP 23 2019  7:30 PM EDTUPDATED MON, SEP 23 2019  9:46 PM EDT

Facebook on Monday announced the acquisition of CTRL-labs, a New York startup that specializes in allowing humans to control computers using their brains.

The startup will join Facebook Reality Labs, a division of the social media company that is working to develop augmented-reality smart glasses. The size of the deal was between $500 million and $1 billion, sources familiar with the matter told CNBC. A Facebook spokesperson said it was lower than $1 billion.

“Technology like this has the potential to open up new creative possibilities and reimagine 19th century inventions in a 21st century world,” said Facebook Vice President of AR/VR Andrew “Boz” Bosworth in a post announcing the acquisition. “This is how our interactions in VR and AR can one day look. It can change the way we connect.”

The vision for CTLR-labs’ technology is that it will use a wristband that allows people to control their devices, Bosworth said.

“Here’s how it’ll work: You have neurons in your spinal cord that send electrical signals to your hand muscles telling them to move in specific ways such as to click a mouse or press a button,” Bosworth wrote. “The wristband will decode those signals and translate them into a digital signal your device can understand, empowering you with control over your digital life.”

CTRL-labs was founded in 2015 by Thomas Reardon and Patrick Kaifosh, who both received their PhDs in neuroscience from Columbia University. Earlier in his career, Reardon spent nine years at Microsoft and was then technology chief at Openwave Systems. CTRL-labs raised $28 million in February from Alphabet’s GV and Amazon’s Alexa Fund.

The deal comes as Facebook faces an an antitrust investigation by the Federal Trade Commission, which is reportedly looking into whether the company facilitated its acquisitions in an effort to stifle competition.

More details in https://www.cnbc.com/2019/09/23/facebook...-labs.html
Specuvestor: Asset - Business - Structure.
Facebook has a theory that hiding ‘likes’ will increase post volume, and Instagram is testing that theory
* Inside Facebook’s growth and data science teams, there is a hypothesis that getting rid of “likes” may be an effective tactic for getting users to post more original content on Instagram, three former employees told CNBC.
* The theory goes that by hiding like counts, users may feel less self-conscious when they post photos or videos that don’t receive many likes. This in turn may serve as a catalyst for getting users to post more often.
* Head of Instagram Adam Mosseri has presented the experiment as an effort to combat the social network’s problem with cyberbullying.

Salvador Rodriguez

Once the primary currency of social media posts, “likes” on Instagram may soon be a thing of the past.

Facebook, which owns Instagram, has touted its recent move to hide likes on user posts as an effort to reduce bullying on the popular social app.

But the motivation goes beyond that. There’s also a hypothesis within the company that hiding likes will increase the number of posts people make to the service, by making them feel less self-conscious when their posts don’t get much engagement, three former employees told CNBC. These people asked for anonymity because they are not authorized to discuss internal strategy at the company.

More posts means users spend more time on Instagram, and therefore grows the company’s ability to show more ads. Instagram is a critical part of Facebook’s future. It is the most popular social app among teens, and it has more than 1 billion monthly users. That includes 500 million daily users of the Stories feature that was introduced in 2016 to compete against a popular feature of the same name from Snapchat. Instagram is now valued by analysts at more than $100 billion, or about one-fifth of Facebook’s total market cap.

Instagram declined comment on its motives for the change.

Less pressure, more posting

Ever since Facebook announced the experiment to remove like counts in April, Instagram chief Adam Mosseri has linked it to the social network’s anti-cyberbullying efforts.

“It’s because we want people to worry a little bit less about how many likes they’re getting on Instagram and spend a bit more time connecting with the people they care about,” Mosseri said at Facebook’s F8 conference for developers in April. The next slide in the presentation included the words, “Leading the fight against online bullying.”

Mosseri returned to the idea over and over again. At a Wired conference in October, he said, “The idea is to try and depressurize Instagram, to make it less of a competition, give people more space to focus on connecting with the people they love and the things that inspire them.”

But Facebook’s own research suggests hiding like counts could also increase the number of posts Instagram users make.

In recent years, as Instagram content became more polished and saturated with content from professional influencers, whom advertisers pay to promote particular products, the platform began to see more users delete or archive their original posts — especially posts that did not receive many likes, one of the former employees said.

Facebook’s growth and data science teams developed a hypothesis that getting rid of likes would make users feel less self-conscious when their posts don’t receive much engagement, spurring them to post more.

Facebook has always done research on likes, but the company began specifically experimenting with the idea of removing Instagram like counts in 2018, the people said. The experiment began as part of Instagram’s wellness project before Mosseri took charge of the social network in October 2018, one of the sources said, but Mosseri has prioritized it. “I’ve been spending a lot of time on this personally,” he said this October.

Under the changes, users will no longer be able to compare their posts’ like counts to their peers, but they’ll still receive a notification for each individual like. Those notifications could serve as an additional catalyst to get users to post more often.

In addition, people on Instagram tend to mimic the behaviors of their close friends and family, so getting a few users to start posting original content more frequently could create a viral effect, the former employees told CNBC.

Mosseri once briefly acknowledged removing likes could increase engagement, tweeting “It’ll likely effect [sic] how much some people engage on Instagram, probably liking a bit less and posting a bit more...”

More details in https://www.cnbc.com/2019/12/06/instagra...olume.html
Specuvestor: Asset - Business - Structure.
Back when FB was IPO-ing at a valuation of 100x earnings, I thought that such a pricing was ridiculous, and even when its share price halved not long after IPO, it was still a whopping 50x earnings. How can surfing the profile of others and sending pokes be worth that much? Is FB not just a snazzier version of its predecessor, Friendster? Even as a user, I never saw its potential.

But today, it is gobbling up a third of global digital advertising revenue, and earnings have grown from a billion to eighteen. Not to mention the devastating impact that it, Google, and other popular websites/apps, has on traditional media (newspaper/magazine and TV).

If FB can continue to improve on user engagement/experience, as it has for the past decade, it is likely that its market position will continue to strengthen in the next decade. And if it trades at a more reasonable multiple of say, 15x earnings, FB may make for a good investment.
"The True Sign of Intelligence is not Knowledge, but Imagination." -Albert Einstein.

It takes one with foresight and imagination to foresee what Facebook would have become back in 2012. If one recognize traditional media's decline (which was becoming increasingly evident from 2013) one would have predicted who'd have benefited from it.

Facebook was probably a much better investment back when it IPOed than today.

I have divested from Facebook back in 2018 and never looked back. I think when a potential investor is looking at investing in Facebook long-term today, in addition to traditional analysis on their business model; an important question to ask is, are you fine with investing alongside Mark Zuckerberg; do you think his line of actions to date positively impacted stakeholders (political, social, psychological and financial well-being of their users, influencers, merchants, advertisers, business-partners, developers, shareholders, policy makers, society etc.) given the information, and knowledge available to him.

IMHO, if you answer is no, you are not ok with his decisions, then probably more people think the way you do (including policy makers, activists, investors, customers, employees etc.). No matter how strong your company is financially, and how much market power you command; if you incur too much negative goodwill to stakeholders, sooner or later, it will come back to bite the company, and investors alike.

(not vested)
“If you buy a business just because it’s undervalued, then you have to worry about selling it when it reaches its intrinsic value. That’s hard. But if you can buy a few great companies, then you can sit on your ass. That’s a good thing.” - Charlie Munger
Not forgetting, FB owns Instagram and Watsapp too. While the two FB and Instagram platforms have been earning advertising dollars, Watsapp is virtually raking in nothing. FB has not monetised Watsapp yet. Hence the potential is immense.

FB Current Assets minus Total Liabilities is US$34 billion, approx US$12 per share.

Free Cashflow is a staggering US$20 billion, approx US$7 per share.

Operating Margin is 42%.

IMO, FB has a long runway. With all the FCF generating yearly, it can only get stronger.

Not vested.
You probably wouldn't feel anything wrong, if you were the shareholder on the winning side. For the record, Microsoft used to copy a lot (and to the wrath of Steve Jobs)

TikTok clone Instagram Reels is just one of the many times Facebook has copied its competitors

“They deserve all the credit,” Instagram co-founder Kevin Systrom told TechCrunch about Snapchat. “This isn’t about who invented something. This is about a format, and how you take it to a network and put your own spin on it.”


It's about stealing great ideas (ie putting in your own interpretation, and making it your own; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a6jeZ7m0ycw), not blatant copying. The problem the late Steve Jobs had with Microsoft is that they (at least in the beginning) copied in such poor taste.

It's not the first time Facebook tried to copy TikTok (first attempt called Lasso, then IGTV); maybe third time's the charm?
When you are not operating your business in good faith, with the interest of your stakeholders in mind, this is what you will face, constant backlash:



That said, it might still be a lucrative investment for investors. Standard Oil break up made John D. Rockefeller incredibly rich. But I prefer to invest long-term, in companies trying to make a positive impact for their stakeholders.

(ex-Facebook shareholder)
“If you buy a business just because it’s undervalued, then you have to worry about selling it when it reaches its intrinsic value. That’s hard. But if you can buy a few great companies, then you can sit on your ass. That’s a good thing.” - Charlie Munger

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