Hike beats WhatsApp to launching messenger app payments in India

 India-focused mobile messaging service Hike landed funding from Tencent last year, and today it took a major step to emulating the Chinese firm’s WeChat app with the introduction of mobile payments.
The launch of Hike Wallet not only shows an ambition to build a messaging platform, it also means Hike has beaten WhatsApp, the chat app that dominates India, to the punch. Facebook-owned… Read More

Now is the time to apply for Startup Battlefield Africa

 We’re looking for a few good startups based in sub-Saharan Africa to participate in our inaugural Startup Battlefield Africa, and all you startup folks out there in the region aren’t going to want to miss this. TechCrunch is excited to be partnering with Facebook to bring our illustrious startup competition, the Startup Battlefield, to Nairobi, Kenya, later this year. The… Read More

Facebook rolls out the GIF button for comments to all users

 Reply threads on Facebook are about to get a lot more animated. To mark the 30th anniversary of the GIF format, all users will get the new GIF comment button that Facebook began testing three months ago. Facebook also announced that almost 13 billion GIFs were sent on Messenger over the past year, with 400 million GIFs sent just on New Year’s Day 2017. Read More

AI on your lock screen

 For the last 10 years, news feeds have been the main way — the mainstream user interface — to discover interesting and relevant digital content. Today, news feeds, from Facebook and Twitter to LinkedIn, Instagram and Pinterest, are surfacing the interesting news and moments from your social network and favorite sources. This is about to change. Read More

Man in Pakistan sentenced to death for blasphemous Facebook comments

 There’s disturbing news from Pakistan, where a man has been handed the death sentence for allegedly making blasphemous comments on Facebook. The Guardian reports that Taimoor Raza was founded guilty of insulting the prophet Muhammad by a court this week. His charge relates to comments made during a debate about Islam with another user on the social network, who subsequently turned out… Read More

Apple unveils Business Chat, which brings customer service and shopping into iMessage

 Apple just unveiled Business Chat, its bid to turn iMessage into a communication platform that can compete with Facebook Messenger – and perhaps, make iMessage one of the main ways you interact with businesses. The company quietly announced the service earlier this week with an update to its developer site, but few details were available at the time. Today was the real introduction, with… Read More

Facebook will lease its first San Francisco office, for Instagram

 Facebook is finally getting an office space in San Francisco, and is currently considering several different locations, one of which will house up to 100 Instagram employees, an industry source familiar with the lease plan confirmed to TechCrunch. Earlier today, The Registry reported Facebook is in talks for a space at 181 Fremont in the South Of Market district — a 70-story tower… Read More

Facebook is broken

 The problem is this: Facebook has become a feedback loop which can and does, despite its best intentions, become a vicious spiral. At Facebook’s scale, behavioral targeting doesn’t just reflect our behavior, it actually influences it. Over time, a service which was supposed to connect humanity is actually partitioning us into fractal disconnected bubbles. The way Facebook’s… Read More