WhatsApp For Business


More and more people I talk to are doing business on Whatsapp. Our very own Vestact Superheroes group is very active, especially when we are not all in the office at the same time. I also find myself chatting to clients a lot more on WhatsApp. It really is a convenient method of communication.


Facebook Q3 - Users and Profits Grow


On Wednesday night Facebook reported quarterly numbers that were ahead of analyst expectations. The company had revenues of $17.7 billion which allowed them to generate a profit of $6 billion. Just to put that in Rand terms, they make R90 billion in profits every three months, or R30 billion every month. Discovery's market cap is R80 billion, that means Facebook could buy Discovery with one quarter's worth of profits. The key to the Facebook business model is the number of people using the platform. The graph below shows how their monthly active users (MAU), has continued to grow. They added around 200 million people to the platform over the last 12 months.


Facebook Buys Ctrl


This sounds futuristic but the headline is true. Facebook agrees to acquire brain-computing start-up CTRL-labs. And the company is not coming for free, it will cost between $500 million and $1bn. Remember, $1bn is what they paid for Instagram.


WhatsApp Has 400 Million Users in India


A big part of the Facebook stable is WhatsApp, where the company has yet to unlock the applications full potential. Getting the user base was the first challenge, now they need to figure out a way to monetise without reducing user experience. The huge potential for growth from WhatsApp is one of the reasons why we own Facebook shares.


Facebook $5bn FIne


The Wall Street Journal reported late on Friday that the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has agreed to fine Facebook a record-setting $5 billion on Friday for privacy violations. This makes me mad.


Facebook Launches Libra Coin


Yesterday Facebook released details of their new cryptocurrency, Libra. The currency is only partly Facebook's because there are other founding partners, who also have a say in how things will be run. The founder group includes Visa, Mastercard, Uber, PayPal, Vodafone, PayU (Naspers) and eBay. It's expected to launch early next year.


Don't Split Facebook


I'm getting really steamed up about bullsh*t articles in the media suggesting that Facebook should be split up. I mean, what tripe is this? They are a private company, offering a free service on the Internet, to which users sign up voluntarily! Ok, they have made a few mistakes with sharing data with advertisers and other "marketers", but they said that they'd be more careful in future. Never forget, individual users get to determine their own privacy settings.


Facebook's Facelift


Last week Tuesday was a big day for Facebook. They had their annual developer conference during a time where the company's potential negative influence on society is the main focus. You may have noticed already that the newsfeed has been redesigned. The design encourages more sharing within the private realms of Messenger and Whatsapp.


Facebook Q1 - Printing Cash


On Wednesday evening Facebook released Q1 numbers. The stock popped 9% in after-hours trade and closed the day out up 6%.


Ignore the 'Fake News' on Facebook


Facebook gets a lot of bad press, so we are quite often asked why it remains a Vestact recommended portfolio holding. The criticisms of the company mostly relate to the main Facebook platform, where some feel that it does not do enough to prevent the spread of fake news, hate speech and terrorist propaganda. Others feel that it is bad for society, as people spend too much time online, instead of chatting in person. The company's privacy policies are also attacked, and its CEO Mark Zuckerberg is accused of selling users' personal information to advertisers and other shadowy intermediaries.


Shopping on Instagram


Facebook has been receiving some bad press lately. But we should not forget what a powerful tool it is. We must also not forget that it owns Instagram and Whatsapp. I came across this article titled Instagram will now let you buy products directly inside the app. It talks about a new functionality whereby you are not redirected to the sellers website. Instagram has partnered with Paypal and will keep a small cut of each sale.


Why to Buy Facebook


My colleague Bright covered Facebook's recent results yesterday, but I am keen to re-emphasise just how strong the company's growth metrics look. You know, because to read the market headlines these days, you might think that they were a failing company?


Facebook FY - Powering Through Scandals


Diversified social media giant Facebook turned 15 yesterday, a big milestone for a company that was started in a university dorm room. Accel Partners invested $14.8 million in a website called 'the facebook.com' back in 2005, today the returns are north of $5.6 billion or 378 times their initial outlay.


Facebook - Profits up, Margins down


Picture this cricketing scenario. You are chasing 300 runs and your team is already 100/4. Your 6th batsmen, who is horribly out of form, comes in to try and save the day. After a shaky start, he finds his feet and comes through with a cracking century off 60 balls and saves the day. That is what it was like when Facebook released their results on Tuesday. Facebook, of course, were batting for team Tech. Amazon, Netflix and Google had gone out cheaply (although Netflix put up a brave fight). Fortunately, Facebook beat expectations and the share price shot up 5% premarket.


Facebook Flying


Facebook stock has been quite weak lately. If you look at the two year chart below, you can see that it peaks at $210 a share in July 2018, and has slipped steadily since then, to $154 at the close last Friday. What gives?


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