TransferWise unveils international money transfers on Facebook

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TransferWise unveils international money transfers on Facebook

A London-based startup has developed a Facebook Messenger chatbot that allows users to send money internationally. TransferWise customers will be able to send money to and from the UK, US, Canada, Australia and Europe and the bot will help them through the transfer process. It can also be used to set up exchange rate alerts, suggesting good times to exchange currency. Facebook already allows people to send money domestically in the US via Messenger, but has not yet launched the service internationally. The social network opened up Messenger to developers wishing to create chatbots last April as it looked to grow its reach in customer service and enterprise transactions. The launch comes as competition in the digital payments landscape intensifies. Earlier this month, PayPal Holdings announced its US payments app Venmo would be available via popular chat platform Slack. Scott Miller, head of global partnerships at TransferWise described the new chatbot as ‘a powerful example of how API can be used to seamlessly integrate TransferWise into almost any messaging, bank or business payment system.’ The two companies have been linked before, with rumours suggesting Facebook was looking to acquire the fintech startup. While no deal has been made as yet, the bot is seen as a promising start.

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British Vogue launches Facebook Messenger chatbot

Fashionistas will be able to chat directly with British Vogue through Facebook Messenger, after it became the latest brand to tap into the chatbot craze. The launch, which coincides with London Fashion Week, will let readers interact with the bot to catch up on the runway shows and receive updates about their favourite designers. Users will be able to select the content they want delivered to their inbox and the frequency. ‘This is a new method for us to be able to talk directly and immediately to the huge Vogue audience, who rely on us to provide inspiring and authoritative fashion news,’ revealed outgoing editor-in-chief Alexandra Shulman. British Vogue has joined a growing number of UK-based publishers using Facebook chatbots to promote their content. The Sun has revealed its Messenger bot drives almost half of the users it interacts with, back to its site while The Guardian recently unveiled a bot which can chat informally to its readers.

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WhatsApp launches Status and Direct Photos

Facebook is once again taking on Snapchat by announcing a major new feature - Status - as well as testing what it calls “direct photos and videos.” Status allows users to take pictures, add stickers and drawings, and share them to all their contacts for 24 hours. It’s a lot like Snapchat Stories, and nearly identical to Instagram’s Instagram Stories. Status is end-to-end encrypted, intended to prevent man-in-the-middle attacks from successfully eavesdropping on updates. Meanwhile direct photos and videos is built into the camera in Facebook, allowing users to send pictures and movies to friends straight from the camera interface, as in Snapchat. A recipient can only view the a photo or video message twice before it disappears forever. Status could open up new advertising opportunities for WhatsApp if it follows Snap and Instagram’s lead. Full-screen ads could be inserted in-between friends’ Statuses. And if WhatsApp Status takes off, it could hinder Snap’s global growth opportunities in user-generated content. WhatsApp had been positioned as few-frills utilitarian chat while Facebook Messenger sported all the bells and whistles. But late last year, WhatsApp adapted to the visual communication age with the launch of additional camera features. Now the question is whether WhatsApp can eat some of Snapchat’s lunch abroad without watering down its core product.

Discovery to provide exclusive content for Snapchat

Discovery Communications has agreed a content deal with Snapchat that will bring shows such as Shark Week and Mythbusters, as well as new concepts, to the social network’s Discover platform. ‘There are few other platforms as dynamic and engaging, especially among younger audiences,’ said Paul Guyardo, chief commercial officer for Discovery Communications. The partners will also collaborate on the sales front, pairing Discovery’s advertisers with Snap’s advertising options. The company joins the likes of BBC Worldwide, Disney-ABC and Turner in the group of major media brands offering curated shows on Snapchat Discover. The social network has also secured its first unscripted original series after agreeing a deal with A&E Networks for the reality format Second Chance. Snap is hoping the revenue generated from its video partnerships will help it raise an expected $3bn from its upcoming initial public offering. Nick Bell, vice president of content at Snap, hailed the exclusive content deal. ‘We have seen what they can do when developing and producing creative concepts for TV and we’re excited to see what’s in store as they apply their talent and expertise to this new medium,’ he added.

Tinder acquires social video startup Wheel

Tinder has announced the acquisition of a Los Angeles-based startup that lets users share Snapchat-style video clips. ‘Wheel’ was launched in 2015 under the name Ferris to make it easier for people to share mobile videos with their friends and family. The core focus of the social network is the ability to mix together videos with friends. Users can make their own video public and then invite others to add to it. Tinder said it will incorporate the video feature into its core app but has not yet revealed specific details. Tinder has recently been working with Facebook Audience, the social media company’s third-party ad network, to allow brands to buy ads programmatically. The move aims to boost the dating platform’s ad revenue, which is its second largest source of income after its premium subscription model.

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