Weekly News For You To Stay Updated With The App Industry
Apps are a great way to connect, have fun, shop, (and of course, find memes). Many users are especially interested in shopping on apps like Instagram, Facebook Messenger, and even WhatsApp. We’ve got a story that shows you how much of that is true.
Plus, we’ve got a story on Google’s crusade to remove fake loan apps from the Play Store.
This edition of The Weekly News Wr(app) is filled with app and tech news from around the world to keep you engaged and entertained. Read on, friend for more.
1. Match Group sues Apple over app store commissions in India
Ever since the Epic Games case, Apple has constantly been in the news for anti-competitive behavior. And again it’s the same with Tinder’s parent company Match Group.
The dating app makers are complaining that Apple is charging too high a commission for in-app purchases. Right now the commissions stand at 30% for companies that make $1 million per year and 15% for the rest. Match Group obviously come in the 30% bracket given their popularity even in India. Hence, they would want to fight tooth and nail to reduce commissions.
Match Group had a similar fight against Google’s Play Store commissions and filed a similar lawsuit back in May. Google threatened to remove apps like Tinder from the Play Store for non-compliance. However, the tech giant had a change of heart after reaching a settlement with Match Group.
Will Apple give such treatment to Match Group? We don’t know. But fairness should prevail in the app store ecosystem. Moreover, it shouldn’t only be these large companies who benefit from some sort of preferential treatment. You need to consider local and indie app developers too.
2. 65% use Meta-owned apps for shopping
According to a survey by mCommerce experts SimplicityDX, users are flocking to apps like Instagram and Facebook for their shopping needs.
The data reveals that 83% of users use one of the Meta-owned apps to buy online. A large contributor to this number is Facebook Marketplace, which is not really a social commerce platform. Facebook Marketplace is a peer-to-peer market and brands usually don’t sell there. But even if you remove Facebook Marketplace from the picture, Meta still has 65% of users buying from Instagram, Messenger, WhatsApp, etc.
Instagram looked like a place for users to shop, with 33% admitting that they bought products from the platform. Many users, 48% of them in fact, prefer buying from brand websites while using something like Instagram for product discovery.
But social media plays a vital role in product discovery for brands. 87% of users said they visited and or followed a brand after seeing them on Instagram.
Overall, SimplicityDX’s survey shows the power of social media in social commerce. Brands could look to tap into this more in the future.
3. Over 2,000 dubious Indian loan apps removed from Play Store
Google said at an event that they removed over 2,000 personal loan apps from the Play Store. According to Saikat Mitra, senior director and head of Trust and Safety at Google Asia-Pacific, these loan apps were removed after consulting with local law enforcement agencies.
Google was forced to remove these apps after they were found to use questionable practices to lend and recover money. They charge high fees and harass users to repay the money way before the promised due date.
This isn’t the first time this is happening. Google was again forced to remove an app called EZ plan in 2021 after the app makers duped users of 150 crores. A lack of manual reviews from Google is the main cause of this issue.
However, Google is working on changing its policy with respect to lending apps following this latest clear-out.
4. Instagram protects teen users with new restrictions
Instagram is trying its best to keep its teenage users from harms way by introducing a Content Control feature. After a Facebook whistleblower made public documents that detailed how Instagram knew the harmful effects it has on younger users, the company has actively worked on correcting this.
First, they released parental controls on the app that let parents limit time spent on the app, updates on whom their children follow, etc.
With the Control Content feature, users can adjust how much sensitive content is allowed on their feeds. There are three settings currently, “More”, Standard”, and “Less”. Now Instagram will put the “Less” setting as a default for all users aged 16 and below.
“It’s all in an effort for teens to basically have a safer search experience, to not see so much sensitive content and to automatically see less than any adult would on the platform,” said Jeanne Moran, Instagram Policy Communications Manager, Youth Safety & Well-Being.
But one problem that Instagram faces is when users lie about their ages on the app. Although they’re trying to circumvent this by using AI and video selfie verification, it’s still a hard ask. Plus teenage users can change the sensitive content from “Less” to “Standard” if they wish.
Instagram however will still be rolling out the feature for all users. It may help a little, and that is something.
5. WhatsApp planning more visibility for Status Updates
Similar to Instagram and Facebook, Meta is planning to give WhatApp’s Status Update a visibility boost.
Right now, the Status Updates of all your contacts are under a separate tab. This reduces visibility and engagement, according to the company. However, WhatsApp will introduce a feature that will have a blue ring appear on your contact’s photo if he or she posts a Status Update. Users may be familiar with this since the same thing happens on Instagram DMs.
The feature is still in testing and there’s no timeline on when this will be rolled out.
6. Twitter is adding podcasts
The micro-blogging platform is adding podcasts to its growing roster of audio features. The podcasts will appear in a redesigned Spaces tab which will include personalized content called “Stations”. Under Stations, content will be grouped according to topics like News, Sports, Music, etc.
Once a user opens the new Spaces tab, they will come across podcasts based on their likes. With these podcasts, Twitter aims to be an “all-in-one, personalized audio destination” for its users.