Social Media Sunday: Facebook Backed Apple, Apple Joined Twitter, Snapchat Got More Money
This week in social media, Facebook and its subsidiary WhatsApp backed Apple in its encryption fight with the FBI, the same week that a WhatsApp executives was briefly jailed in Brazil in a similar case.
Meanwhile, Apple started a tech support account on Twitter, whose stock is finally going up, and Snapchat reportedly raised a fresh $175 million, though it didn't increase its valuation this time.
It's time for Social Media Sunday!
Backing Apple Fight With FBI
This week, Facebook filed an amicus brief with the court in which Apple is currently struggling against the federal government. Apple remains unwilling to create a so-called "backdoor" to its iPhone encryption, as per the FBI's request.
WhatsApp, Facebook's worldwide subsidiary messaging service, also spoke up in support of Apple. Its CEO Jan Koum wrote on his Facebook page:
"The purpose of security is to safeguard privacy. Billions of people share their most personal, intimate information using services like ours, and they expect all of us to keep it safe from criminals and other bad guys. Asking a single company to undermine the security of its product for an investigation threatens the security of all of us in the long run.
"Today, WhatsApp and other companies are asking a U.S. court to overturn an order that would require Apple to weaken the security of its product. We are proud to stand together to demonstrate how these efforts go beyond what the law allows and how they compromise the values upon which our country is built."
WhatsApp and Facebook had a good reason this week to speak so strongly against government intervention into technology companies' encryption practices. As Latin Post reported, Facebook Latin America VP Diego Dzodan was taken into custody by Brazilian federal police on Tuesday over WhatsApp's repeated refusal to court orders to decrypt user communications.
Dzodan was released within 24 hours, but not before firing up Facebook and WhatsApp to support Apple.
News in Messenger
You might someday get your news not from Facebook's news feed (as nearly everyone does currently), but inside Facebook's messaging app. According to Marketing Land, inside sources have said Facebook Messenger will soon let publishers distribute their content on its network directly.
It's apparently one of the many projects that the company is working on this spring with developers, as Facebook opens up the Messenger app to third-party services and development.
Apple Tech Support in 140 Characters
This week was pretty good for Twitter on Wall Street, all things considered. Perhaps one reason for the boost in confidence is that Apple joined the network and found it instantly useful as another avenue to connect with customers.
On Thursday, the company quietly launched an @AppleSupport Twitter account. Within 24 hours, the account had over 121,000 followers and 2,200 tweets-worth of activity. As Business Insider reported, the rate of customer interaction on the account's first day works out to about two to three responses per minute in the 15 hours it was open for business.
Apple's retail chief Angela Ahrendts tweeted she was "thrilled to have another wonderful support option for customers." The recently beleaguered Twitter is just thrilled to get some good press.
More Money, Same Valuation
Snapchat reportedly raised $175 million more in funding from a Fidelity Investments-led round of fundraising, according to unnamed sources in a report by Reuters. The funding round, however, did not increase the valuation of the $16 billion unicorn startup.
Fidelity's turn at the Snapchat investment wheel was what's called a "flat round," in which the company's valuation doesn't grow even as more money is pumped into it.
It's not surprising, as the Silicon Valley unicorn has generally trended toward the endangered species list this year. Snapchat remains the sixth most highly valued startup in the world, and its CEO Evan Spiegel is probably just glad the company has stayed put in that ranking this year.