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Facebook Inc. is accused of blocking its rivals’ advertisements on their own Facebook application. The accusation from Indian-based Hike Messenger indicates that Facebook blocked advertisements on its platform that would allow the users to be redirected to visit Hike’s website.

The accusation from Indian-based Hike Messenger indicates that Facebook blocked advertisements on its platform that would allow the users to be redirected to visit Hike’s website.

If you were not aware, just for your information; Hike Messenger is a multi-platform instant messaging app that allows the users to chat via text and audio messages and also share multimedia files such as videos, pictures, stickers and even audio files. People on this platform are also able to share contacts and user locations as well as make voice calls over the internet. This smartphone-based app, just like Facebook’s WhatsApp, uses the internet to deliver its services.

Certain products and services cannot be advertised on Facebook

A spokesperson from Hike argues that advertisers have the option of redirecting site visitors to other websites, but they realized that this option that would allow people visit Hike’s website was blocked on Facebook. Upon inquiring from the Facebook Team, they received a response that alleged that certain products were not allowed to be advertised on the platform, including Hike’s.

“There are specific products and services that cannot be advertised on Facebook – looks like Hike is one of these. Unfortunately, you will not be able to run these ads” – this was the response from Menlo Park, California.

Competition tactics

Facebook Inc. owns a number of applications that include Facebook Messenger, Instagram, WhatsApp and the Facebook app itself. All these social media apps have varied features and offer a number of almost similar services in different ways. The key aim of social media platforms is socializing; bringing people together and close.

From the services offered by Hike Messenger, it is with no doubt that this Indian app with over 70 million users is no more different from the widely known WhatsApp Messenger. The Facebook-owned app also offers the same services offered by Hike, except that ads are not allowed in the former’s platform.

By disallowing products and services linked to Hike on their platform, Facebook is apparently trying to play competition games. By the virtue of owning WhatsApp, a rival app to Hike, the company is denying Facebook users the chances of getting access to a competitor. Users getting access to a rival via the mainstream platform would mean having varied options and probably getting swayed to use their services. Something that Facebook is keen on; maintaining and increasing the user bases on their own applications.

Was it a bug that affected Telegram?

Reports have it that this is not the first time that fingers have been pointed at Facebook for blocking competitors. Recently, four to five weeks ago, certain quarters reported and confirmed (with screenshots displayed) that Telegram – a messaging service – links on WhatsApp were blocked. The people who detected this noted that other links went through just fine except Telegram’s. They also reported that this was only noted in Android version of WhatsApp Messenger – this could have been attributed to a bug associated with past algorithms used.

However, with Telegram’s case it was not confirmed whether it was a technical error or it was intentional like Hike’s case. There are many ways of outdoing your competitor in the technology ecosystem. It appears that Facebook is employing one of the so called “dirty tricks” of simply blocking access to rivals’ content via their platforms.

Advertising business requires numbers and Facebook, with over a billion and a half monthly active users on its platform, might give ways for other rivals with their ads to lure users. Tactics must therefore be applied to maintain and increase user bases even in sister applications that may be at risks of getting outdone.