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Facebook Update: WhatsApp, admins, and deceased accounts


Photo: Mashable


Facebook has been making a lot of noise over the past week since announcing the acquisition of WhatsApp for an impressive $AU19billion dollars. WhatsApp, a message-based application that allows users to message anyone whose phone number they have which uses data messaging rather than text based messaging, boasts a 450 million monthly active user count. 320 million of those are active daily users and to provide some context: Twitter has 215 million active monthly users.
It’s important to point out that in 2012 Facebook paid $1billion for Instagram, which at the time was considered a really big deal!
So what does this acquisition really mean for Facebook? An $18billion dollar increase on their last major acquisition is a big deal. WhatsApp is free for the first year, and then a nominal $0.99 fee for every year following: this is a good little earner for WhatsApp but it doesn’t really explain the ginormous outlay from Facebook.
Until you consider the platform: mobile.
Facebook has tried to get into your phone before with Facebook Home, with minimal success. WhatsApp may be an attempt to get back “in” with a younger audience, since Facebook appears to be losing the youth market, yet the youth demographic is definitely a heavy contributor to the mobile market.
It’s hard to know exactly why this acquisition was worth the investment for Facebook, but I would place my money on data. Similar to Google’s recent ‘admission’ that Google+ was devised to track your online behaviour and sell that information to marketers, the data and access that Facebook obtains from this acquisition (and others) is a very powerful monopoly on your online activity and communications.

Administrative Accountability

In a step which makes administrators like me internally jump for joy, Facebook has recently announced that it will now show which Page administrator has contributed what content below the comment, and post publishers will be visible within the Facebook Page activity log.
This will ensure a level of accountability across community management, but also enable a greater level of growth within community management teams. Management will be able to see who is saying what within the community, and then encourage things like a refresher on tone of voice information, or encourage a community manager to start participating more if their activity is resulting in a higher level of engagement. Though not specifically measurable, this does create a new metric for management to use to facilitate a greater return on investment in a major resource: their staff.

Deceased accounts

Facebook has announced a change to how they manage the accounts of deceased Facebook members. Previously, they ensured that only Facebook Friends of the deceased were able to see their account content. Now, they’ve decided to maintain the privacy settings of the account prior to death. So those few public posts you made last year before upping your privacy settings will be forever memorialised after your death.
Facebook is ‘respecting the choices a person made in life’ and continuing this access for their friends and family, though it also sounds very much like an administrative management tactic: this way they don’t actually need to alter anything within the profile outside of acknowledging that the account holder has passed.
It also raises, what I would consider, a flag for the legal industry, particularly those tasked with managing estates and wills, as well as all social media users. Perhaps it’s time to start thinking about what we want to happen with our online presence after our death, and updating wills to reflect our wishes.
Share your thoughts. We love to hear from you. What do you think of Facebook’s latest changes?

Fiona Downie
Digital Community Manager





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