Project LightSpeed: How Facebook shrunk Messenger down by 75%

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To make its iPhone messaging app run better—especially on older phones—Facebook rewrote it from the ground up. The new version is going live now. In August 2011, Facebook introduced Messenger, an iPhone and Android app that spun off the social network’s chat feature into a stand-alone experience. Meant to compete with texting plans from wireless carriers—and made possible by Facebook’s acquisition of a messaging startup called Beluga —the app was an instant hit . And it’s been an enduring one: Messenger hit one billion monthly active users in 2016 and was the world’s most-downloaded app in 2019, according to App Annie . Read Full Story

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Signal should be protesters’ messaging app of choice thanks to new blur face tool

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The new version of Signal allows you to quickly and safely share images of protests without putting the protesters around you at risk of identification and retaliation. When it comes to privacy, there are some good messaging apps (Apple’s Messages, WhatsApp) and some bad ones (Facebook Messenger). But there’s only one truly great messaging app when it comes to privacy: Signal. Read Full Story

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How Facebook became “the most Chinese company In Silicon Valley”

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In this excerpt from Alex Kantrowitz’s new book, “Always Day One,” he describes how Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg responded to the threat posed by Snapchat. At around the same time Facebook was working out its News Feed issues, an upstart messaging app called Snapchat — led by the brash Stanford graduate Evan Spiegel — built a feature called Stories, which let people share photos and videos with friends that disappeared in a day. Snapchat’s users loved how Stories gave them a carefree way to post (in contrast with Facebook, where your posts would go to everyone and stick around forever) and the app’s usage exploded. Spiegel, who once spurned a $3 billion acquisition offer from Zuckerberg, was now hitting him where it hurt. In the zero-sum game of social media, where time spent on one platform is time not spent on another, Spiegel had the energy, the sharing, and was driving …

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Coronavirus hits iPhone sales harder than expected in China

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Chinese government figures say Apple sold less than 500,000 iPhones in China during February. Apple has been thinking about and preparing for the effects of the novel coronavirus on its business for months now. The company has done what it could to keep manufacturing on track, but one thing it can’t control is Chinese consumers’ appetite for new iPhones when they’re either sick from or worried about COVID-19. Read Full Story

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How KaiOS is beating Apple and Android to the next billion cellphone users

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Its phones sell for as little as $15 but run WhatsApp, YouTube, and more. KaiOS is the most popular mobile operating system you probably haven’t heard of. Instead of designing software for full-blown smartphones, Hong Kong–based KaiOS Technologies (pronounced ky-O-S) has exceeded 150 million global users by powering what it calls the “smart feature phone.” Far more spartan than iPhones and Samsung Galaxy models, these devices—which sell for as little as $15—run must-have apps such as YouTube, Google Maps, Facebook, and Whats­App, with more available from the KaiOS app store. Read Full Story

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Millions of BTS fans use these 2 apps to connect and shop. No tech startups needed

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Big Hit Entertainment’s thoughtful new apps were designed to bring fans closer. Seoul’s Olympic Stadium was packed during pop band BTS’s three sold-out shows last October, but some fans bypassed long merch lines by preordering items via the e-commerce app Weply, which offers exclusive band-related products. Others checked wait times for food kiosks and posted messages to BTS members through the social networking app Weverse. These services weren’t built by tech startups, but by a subsidiary of Big Hit Entertainment , the Seoul-based music management and production company that represents BTS and other artists. Launched last June, the apps are part of Big Hit’s plan to build a “one-stop service within the music industry,” says co-CEO Lenzo Yoon, akin to the transactional “super apps” popular in parts of Asia. Weply now boasts 1.8 million users from 200 countries; Weverse has 1.4 million daily users. Read Full Story

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The healthcare industry has embraced texting. Here’s one reason that should give you pause

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People ignore text messages when they come repeatedly. Even incredibly important ones. At first glance, the text message seems like the perfect reminder for just about anything. It’s an automated nudge, a way to say, “Hey, remember to do this thing right now.” And given the inundation of text messages and push notifications from every app and service imaginable, you’d assume they must work. Read Full Story

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4 ways to get iPhone-level privacy from your Android phone

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Take a few quick steps to ramp up your phone’s privacy protections. One of the most appealing reasons to opt for an iPhone in recent years has been Apple’s ongoing commitment to enhance its devices’ privacy protections. Thanks to numerous privacy features built into the iPhone’s iOS operating system, Apple can boast that one of the key benefits of using its phone over Android phones is increased privacy. Read Full Story

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The Facebook ad boycott didn’t cripple Facebook. But it sent a message

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The chief marketing officer of password manager Dashlane explains why her company joined in the widespread boycott—and how it’s just the first step toward holding Facebook accountable. When my company, Dashlane, joined a handful of brands in pulling advertising from Facebook for the month of July, we couldn’t have imagined that hundreds of other companies would join us to #StopHateForProfit. We couldn’t have imagined those efforts culminating in Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and other titans of Big Tech appearing on Capitol Hill in one of the most robust demonstrations of our democracy’s strength in the face of consolidated market power since the beginnings of the New Deal. Read Full Story

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The New Way to Chat With Your Visitors

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Marketing has evolved into an omnichannel approach. This means you can no longer just go after one channel to succeed. Back in the day, companies like Facebook grew into billion-dollar businesses through one channel. Facebook used email to grow and they did it by having you invite all your contacts to join Facebook. Yelp was also similar . They grew into a multi-million dollar business through one channel… SEO . Dropbox grew through social media. If you tweeted about Dropbox, they would give you more space. These marketing approaches worked well for all of these well-known companies, but what’s wrong with them? The law of shitty click-throughs What worked for Facebook, Yelp, and Dropbox were all great strategies, but over time, all good marketing channels got saturated and stopped working like they used to. As Andrew Chen puts it, first it works and then it doesn’t . It really is …

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