In today’s pandemic world, businesses of all sizes are adapting and pivoting to selling online. Commerce is a long-term priority for Facebook, and we have been making significant strategic investment in the space over the past years. In 2020, we saw accelerated growth and innovation in this area, leading us to launch our newest program for startups, Facebook Accelerator: Commerce. Through the Facebook Accelerator: Commerce program, our mission is centered on making sure all businesses—from entrepreneurs to established brands—have the tools they need to connect with customers and make shopping online a seamless experience.
Over the course of three-months, we’re bringing together innovative commerce startups in Europe, the Middle East, Africa, and Latin America to help create a unified shopping experience across all Facebook apps. Throughout the virtual program, the selected startups will have access to a dedicated Facebook mentor, comprehensive training, Facebook’s suite of products and technologies, and a valuable network of product experts and fellow founders to connect with.
Today, we’re excited to announce the startups that are invited to join the Facebook Accelerator: Commerce program. Each of these startups submitted applications and were evaluated by an international panel of Facebook and product experts. They were selected for having a product focused on driving customer value, diverse and focused leadership teams, groundbreaking technology or research and evidence of business growth.
In Europe, the Middle East, and Africa, the 2020 Facebook Accelerator: Commerce startups include:
- Botme (Egypt), a commerce chatbot building platform that helps small and medium-sized businesses to build chatbots and publish them on Messenger and WhatsApp.
- BoxCommerce (South Africa), a platform for small and medium-sized businesses to create ecommerce websites, payments, and logistics in emerging markets.
- Brandquad (France), an AI-powered product content management platform that helps to centralize and harmonize data about products.
- Convertedin (Egypt), an ad automation platform for retailers and ecommerce businesses.
- Digiduka (Kenya) that helps informal retailers (kiosks) in Africa get access to digital inventory, as well as easily and cost effectively process digital payments.
- Dream Agility (United Kingdom), a multi-award winning AI company with proprietary visual AI and machine learning, specialising in retail.
- Easysize (Denmark) that helps online fashion shops increase conversion to sales and lower returns, by recommending the right size to their customers.
- FeedGeni (Ghana), a product feed generator that helps online merchants increase product visibility and sales by listing their products on shopping engines.
- FeedSpark (United Kingdom), an award-winning product feed optimisation and ecommerce automation platform, helping brands, retailers and digital agencies increase performance across online channels worldwide.
- Flowbox (Sweden), offering a visual marketing platform to help brands leverage and distribute social content throughout the buyer journey to increase engagement, social proof and sales.
- Intelligent Reach (United Kingdom) helping brands, retailers and their digital agencies increase revenues through data feed optimisation, content experimentation and marketplace management.
- MindBehind (Turkey), an enterprise conversation platform, powering the intersection of AI with messaging, for creating intelligent, on-demand, automated response flows through one-to-one conversations in any messaging channel.
- NearSt (United Kingdom), a retail technology company building the world’s source of real-time local inventory.
- OkHi (Kenya), building the next generation address system. This system will unlock commerce through enhanced logistics and grow access to finance through better personal identification.
- Paym.es (Turkey), a payment solution that enables social sellers to accept payments via messaging apps.
- Save Your Wardrobe (United Kingdom), a digital wardrobe management platform.
- ShoppingFeeder (South Africa), a leading feed management and multi-channel marketing platform for online stores.
- Smiirl (France), helping businesses build awareness and grow their social media engagement from inside their point of sale.
- UENI (UK), helping businesses to get online and find the services and tools they need to succeed.
- WakeupData (Denmark), helping ecommerce businesses to automate, optimize and amplify product data through high-quality data integrations, maximizing ROI without the need for developers.
- WideBot (Egypt), empowering businesses to build smart, AI-enabled chatbots that speak both formal and informal Middle Eastern languages
And in Latin America, the 2020 Facebook Accelerator: Commerce startups include:
- Bling (Brazil), a management system to help small businesses stay organized.
- Cliengo (Argentina), a sales and marketing automation to help businesses scale.
- Cuanto (Panama), a shopping platform to help businesses sell online in seconds.
- Digitalk (Brazil), an AI that transforms contact centers into a 360º automated process.
- FullJaus (Argentina), a centralized place where businesses can control their online shop in the digital marketplace.
- Kyte (Brazil), a shopping platform that lets businesses manage their point of sale for local and online orders.
- MarketUp (Brazil), a free management system to help businesses stand out in the marketplace.
- Olist (Brazil), an eCommerce site to connect businesses and their products to main marketplaces.
- OmniChat (Brazil), a chat and service management solution to help businesses turn WhatsApp into a sales channel.
- Plugg.to (Brazil), an eCommerce integrator that enables businesses to sell across major online marketplaces.
- ShowKase (Brazil), a shopping platform that allows businesses to digitize their company.
- Treble.ai (Colombia), an automated solution for all business WhatsApp needs.
- Unbox (Brazil), Online sales solution designed to help brand-focused SMEs to start sell online in less than 5 minutes and increase their sales.
- VendaMaisM (Brazil), a portal for sales management and training.
- Vendora (Mexico), a social commerce company dedicated to supporting businesses.
Congratulations to the 36 startups joining Facebook Accelerator: Commerce in 2020! The program will officially kick off on November 12, 2020, at which point startups will connect with Facebook commerce experts and begin their journey towards building solutions on commerce platforms that billions of people globally can use and benefit from.
Facebook-Meta Earns the ‘Worst Company of 2021’ Title in This Survey
Facebook parent Meta has been named the Worst Company of the Year (2021) by Yahoo Finance respondents. According to the publication, an “open-ended” survey was published on Yahoo Finance on December 4 and 5, where 1,541 respondents participated. Facebook received 8 percent of the write-in vote, but respondents were seemingly mad about the Robinhood trading app as well. Electric truck startup Nikola, which was named last year’s worst company by the same publication also faced respondents ire.
Yahoo Finance even highlights, “At the same time, some critics, including conservatives, say Facebook over-policed the platform’s speech and stifled their voices.” Critics also blame Facebook and other social media platforms for not curbing hate speech that led to Capitol Building riots.
However, around 30 percent of Yahoo Finance readers said that Facebook or Meta could redeem itself. One respondent suggested that the company could issue a formal apology for negligence and donate a sizable amount of its profits to a foundation to help reverse its harm.
On the other hand, respondents chose Microsoft as the Company of the Year (2021). The Satya Nadella-led company touched the trillion-mark this year and introduced notable upgrades. The most notable is the Windows 11 OS update that succeeds Windows 10.
Facebook pays 1.7 Cr fine to Russia after failing to delete content Moscow deems illegal
In the latest legal tussle with Russia over controversial social media regulation laws, Facebook paid 17 million roubles (Rs 1.7 Crore) for failing to remove content deemed illegal by Moscow. With a threat of potential larger fines looming, Facebook parent company Meta, owned by Mark Zuckerberg, is scheduled to face court next week over repeated violations of Russian legislation on content, Interfax News Agency reported. As per the latest updates, the social media giant could be fined a percentage of its annual revenue.
In October, Moscow sent state bailiffs to enforce the collection of 17 million roubles. Meanwhile, as per Interfax report citing a federal bailiffs’ database, on Sunday, there were more enforcement proceedings against the company. Apart from the popular social media app, Telegram has also paid 15 million roubles in fines for failing to comply with the Russian social media legislations that came into force in 2016.
Facebook pays $53k to Russia for refusing controversial social media laws
It is pertinent to mention that Facebook has locked horns with Moscow earlier in November, resulting in it paying 4 million roubles ($53,000) over its refusal to adhere to Russian data localisation laws, the Moscow Times reported. The Moscow court on November 25 had said that Facebook paid the fine levied in February, following which all proceedings against the US-based social media giant. The payment comes against the litigation filed against the company in 2018, alongside Twitter. The tech companies were also forced to pay an additional 3000 rubles ($40) for failing to comply with user data sharing rules as per the law. The Russian authorities have also previously blocked LinkedIn, owned by Microsoft, for failing to abide by the laws.
Russian social media laws
As per Moscow Times, under the Russian social media regulation laws, all foreign technology companies are required to store data related to Russian customers and users on servers located in Russia. Additionally, the Russian tech companies will also have to share encryption data with the federal authorities as well as record user calls, messages and civil society group conversation records. The apparatus is said to be a severe breach of privacy rights and unfettered back-door access to personal data that could be used to harass Kremlin critics.
Facebook Messenger Is Launching a Split Payments Feature for Users to Quickly Share Expenses
Meta has announced the arrival of a new Split Payments feature in Facebook Messenger. This feature, as the name suggests, will let you calculate and split expenses with others right from Facebook Messenger. This feature essentially looks to bring an easier method to share the cost of bills and expenses — for example, splitting a dinner bill with friends. Using this new Split Payment feature, Facebook Messenger users will be able to split bills evenly or modify the contribution for each individual, including their own.
The company took to its blog post to announce the new Split Payment feature in Facebook Messenger. 9to5Mac reports that this new bill splitting feature is still in beta and will be exclusive to US users at first. The rollout will begin early next week. As mentioned, it will help users share the cost of bills, expenses, and payments. This feature is especially useful for those who share an apartment and need to split the monthly rent and other expenses with their mates. It could also come handy at a group dinner with many people.
With Split Payments, users can add the number of people the expense needs to be divided with and, by default, the amount entered will be divided in equal parts. A user can also modify each person’s contribution including their own. To use Split Payments, click the Get Started button in a group chat or the Payments Hub in Messenger. Users can modify the contribution in the Split Payments option and send a notification to all the users who need to make payments. After entering a personalised message and confirming your Facebook Pay details, the request will be sent and viewable in the group chat thread.
Once someone has made the payment, you can mark their transaction as ‘completed’. The Split Payment feature will automatically take into account your share as well and calculate the amount owed accordingly.
Tasneem Akolawala is a Senior Reporter for Gadgets 360. Her reporting expertise encompasses smartphones, wearables, apps, social media, and the overall tech industry. She reports out of Mumbai, and also writes about the ups and downs in the Indian telecom sector. Tasneem can be reached on Twitter at @MuteRiot, and leads, tips, and releases can be sent to email@example.com.