Facebook Slaps At Snap's IPO, Zenimax 'Rift' Widens

Facebook hits Snap, Twice

Facebook, Inc. (NASDAQ:FB) generated buzz last week with several new features across its social media platforms, two of which will likely affect soon-to-be-public rival Snap, Inc. (NYSE:SNAP), a point we'll be expanding on in our coverage of Snap's IPO. These moves go beyond "keeping up" with Snap and demonstrate that FB has a much broader array of tools to target the social market.

The first was a launch of "statuses" on SMS application WhatsApp, which include text/pictures that will expire after 24 hours and will allow users to overlay drawing, captions, and emojis over images - just like on Snapchat.

FB also announced the ability to upload multiple photos and videos into a single Instagram post, which, while not an exact copy of Snapchat's story feature, will similarly allow users to showcase a handful of pictures/videos related to one social event, plus the added benefit of receiving likes and comments. As of Dec. 31, 2016, WhatsApp boasted 1.2 billion monthly active users (+20% y/y growth) that send 50 billion messages a day.

On FB's Messenger platform, the mobile version of its Facebook instant messaging feature, chat windows will soon include AI-driven commerce buttons that facilitate social-event-related purchasing including food, transportation, and entertainment. Earlier commerce-related pushes include FB's March 2015 initiative to allow money transfers through Messenger, as well as its October 2016 launch of Craigslist alternative Facebook Marketplace.

Worth noting is that FB built its own infrastructure to manage credit/debit card information, in contrast to Snap, which partnered with Square to handle money transfers. Messenger eclipsed 1 billion monthly active users last July and FB continues to add to the platform, as it launched picture filters, games, and group video chat in December. As of FB's Feb. 1, 2017 FY16 earnings release, over 400 million people were using Messenger's voice and video chat features.

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Contributing Authors: Fred McClimans, more

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