Facebook eyes more activity in platforms in 2019

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By Denise A. Valdez

FACEBOOK PHILIPPINES is targeting more user activity as it welcomes the new year, with more than 66 million Filipinos already in its platforms.

Facebook Philippines Country Head John Rubio said in a Dec. 7 interview that the company wants to improve its existing products this year.

“If you look at the Philippines, when you have already (over 66 million) people on your platform, you’re still going to get incremental increases but maybe not as much as before. So it’s about how do we develop better relationships where we can embody more of the stuff that people want to do,” he told BusinessWorld.

He noted three main services that the company will work on this 2019: sharing of visual content through Facebook Watch and Instagram TV (IGTV), 24-hour expiring content through Facebook Stories, and seamless instant messaging through Messenger.

Facebook Watch and IGTV are dedicated platforms for video content controlled by Facebook and Instagram. Facebook Stories, which took inspiration from Instagram Stories, is an app function for photo and video uploads which are viewable only within 24 hours. Messenger is Facebook’s instant messaging platform to connect to friends and enterprises.

“[The focus is] deepening relationships because Filipinos love visual communication, the ephemeralness of stories which allows people to more frequently share, and…the intimate communication which is person-to-person, or person-to-business, person-to-group on the messaging side,” Mr. Rubio said.

The social networking company founded in 2004 has grown rapidly over the years, now with 2.6 billion monthly users globally in at least one of the four platforms it controls: Facebook, WhatsApp, Messenger, and Instagram.

Mr. Rubio said in its 15th year, Facebook Philippines would like to focus “less about…new services…, but just bedding in all the new stuff we launched.”

“We have all these new products that we still want to make sure we scale locally, because we believe they’re really strong products. Marketplace, to change how commerce is happening. A lot of our video products like Watch or IGTV, and how it embodies a lot of that visual communication that we were talking about. Stories, and all the ephemeral content that we were talking about. So that’s the focus for (2019),” he said.

Mr. Rubio noted Facebook products already announced in other countries such as Facebook Dating are likely to arrive in the country in 2020, as the focus first is improving services catered to socializing and business.

“Filipinos love the platform that we have, and I think it embodies what’s best in the Filipino. We’re such a community based (country). It’s a Filipino thing. We live our lives socially and it (Facebook) helps enable that. We’re really good out here,” he said.