Instant mobile messaging space is hotly contested by numerous apps including senior players like Facebook-owned WhatsApp, Viber, Skype, KakaoTalk,Facebook Messenger among others and startups like Hike Messenger, Kik, etc.
However, WhatsApp is currently controlling the space with 900 million monthly active users followed by its parent company’s Messenger with 800 million users. Consequently, Facebook is controlling mobile messaging at the moment.Though, it has been accused of using underhand and ruthless methods to box out competitors, both threatening Messenger and WhatsApp.
Hike has accused the social networking powerhouse of blocking some of its ads. The startup app based in India claims specificadvertisements that aid people to its website were blocked. The company’s spokespersonsaid advertisers have the right to send people anywhere including to their website among others, but a few weeks ago they were surprised to find that they could no longer send people to their site otherwise were not blocked from other options. Hike initially treated it as a bug, but when the company reached Facebook for clarification, the later said some products and services cannot be advertised across its platform, could be Hike is one of them. Facebook affirmed that indeed Hike will not be able to use that option.
A brief recall of Hike
If you are not familiar with Hike, then here is a brief recall. It is an Indian-grown instant messaging app launched in 2012,alike others it offers to message and voice calling. The app currently claims a user number of about 70 million in India handling 1 billion messages a day translating to 30 billion monthly. It’s owned jointly by Softbank from Japan and Bharti Enterprises and run by Kavin Mittal.
Facebook and WhatsApp have blocked users in the past
Facebook and WhatsApp both have records of blocking rival competitors. The later was accused of blocking Telegram, a rival chat app, last month. Links of Telegram shared by users via WhatsApp were treated as plain texts instead of usual hyperlinks, according to reports. The block was reported on WhatsApp’sAndroid platform only; iOS client was not hit.
In November, Facebook blocked posts which mentioned tsu.com. Unlike WhatsApp, theFacebook block was on all platforms including Facebook main feed, Facebook Messenger for both Android and iOS, and on Instagram. Even posts with texts “tsu.com” but without the links were also blocked, and Facebook warned its users against links leading to Tsu terming them unsafe.Over 9.5M posts containing the links that had been posted earlierwere further censored. The small invite-only social media said Facebook feared fair competition and instead, it bullies small firms to keep them off. Facebook in response said the links were violating its ‘spamming rules’.
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