How Zuckerberg dreams of turning Facebook into a super app

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How Zuckerberg dreams of turning Facebook into a super app

This year, the 35-year-old multi-billionaire undertook to transform his empire. Instagram, WhatsApp, Messenger, Facebook: all applications are concerned by this aggiornamento which aims to revitalize the social network for more than 2 billion users by offering them a complete range of services to make them more captive. His model, the Chinese WeChat

After the Cambridge Analytica cataclysm last year, 2019 will remain that of Facebook's aggiornamento. Mark Zuckerberg has undertaken to transform his colossal application ecosystem (Messenger, Instagram, WhatsApp) which has more than 2 billion daily users. A titanic project.

In the background, the 35-year-old multi-billionaire intends to build a super-application, offering "calls, video chats[...], business, payment, trade and ultimately a platform with many other types of private services", he listed in March.

"Facebook is now the Gafam with the largest number of users, but it is also the least captive," says Jérôme Colin, head of strategy consulting at fifty-five. "Facebook needs to establish a stable base and offering more services is a good strategy.

The future Facebook that Zuckerberg is struggling to build already exists on the other side of the globe and is called WeChat, the Chinese giant of "social". Owned by Tencent, this messaging application allows you to order a VTC, make an appointment with a doctor and can also act as a bank... A super application in short.

The group's cryptomonnaie project is launched

Mark Zuckerberg is very clear about his ambitions. Or his inspirations. A few weeks ago, Jessica Lessin, founder of the American website The Information, published an article on her Facebook account entitled "Why Facebook should learn from WeChat", which she wrote in 2015. "If only I had listened to your opinion four years ago..." publicly commented a certain... Mark Zuckerberg, showing a surprising contrition.

But that didn't stop him from taking action. In mid-June, Facebook lifted the veil on its cryptomonnaie project, the libra, which can be used via WhatsApp and Messenger in the first instance. The American group has joined forces with 27 partners: Spotify, Uber, Iliad (Free), etc.
These groups will accept to be paid with the crypto of the technology giant that will expand its range of services within its ecosystem. Thanks to the recovered transaction data, the group wishes to sell financial services in the future. Like WeChat. Expected for 2020, the libra is one of the pillars of the neo-Facebook.

The "Whatsabook" project

It is not the only one. One of the other bases is codenamed "Whatsabook" and aims to make Instagram, WhatsApp and Messenger messaging interoperable.

Translation, an Instagram user will be able to communicate directly with a WhatsApp acquaintance. A rapprochement that constitutes an additional brick in the construction of an increasingly unified and transverse super-application.

"The big difference with Facebook is that on WeChat, almost nothing is public, it's a kind of private room for users," says Guillaume Gombert, analyst at Fabernovel. But at this level too, Facebook is singing the chorus of "I've changed", after the long list of bad buzz about the personal data of its users, which has hit the social network.

Refocusing on privacy

Mark Zuckerberg promised that Facebook would refocus on privacy and encrypt the private exchanges of all its messengers.

This "I understood you" proclaimed by Zuckerberg to its users does not ignore the financial reality of its group. Facebook generates 98% of its revenue through online advertising and therefore still needs to vacuum up "public" data; not all its applications are destined to become a private "living room".

But the boss of the Menlo Park group is determined to rebalance his business model.  Valued at $158 billion, Instagram is the diamond in the Facebook ecosystem and this flagship app is also changing its face.

The Instagram nugget towards e-commerce

In the United States, the company is testing a service with 22 major brands (Adidas, Zara, Nike, etc.) to allow users to buy directly from Instagram. This new business could generate $10 billion in revenue starting in 2021, according to Deutsche Bank. This is the top level of Facebook's "super-application" rocket: e-commerce.

However, regulators and politicians around the world are concerned about the potential consequences of the Libra, Whatsabook projects and the widespread use of encryption for private exchanges. This is the biggest obstacle to Mark Zuckerberg's super-application. Especially since the Facebook boss' word has been considerably demonetized since Cambridge Analytica.

"Conversely, WeChat has been able to rely on a protected domestic market to develop and has also benefited from Beijing's support, particularly for commercial partnerships with major groups. They had a boulevard," says Guillaume Gombert. The horizon does not look so clear for "Zuckie" and its super-application.