Find out the week’s top mobile stories from around the world.

This week… Facebook under fire from EU for WhatsApp data sharing, consumers happy with brand interaction on chat apps, mobile payments to hit $410.5 billion by 2020 and much more.

 

EU says Facebook misled it over its WhatsApp data-sharing policy

The social network faces a fine of up to $179 million

The Verge

The European Commission has accused Facebook of providing “incorrect or misleading information” in the run-up to its $19 billion acquisition of WhatsApp in 2014. Information requested by the Commission is used to vet large mergers and takeovers, aiming to find out if the resulting business would be anti-competitive. If Facebook cannot provide a decent excuse for misleading the Commission before January 31st it could be fined up to $179 million.

The Commission’s complaint refers specifically to the nature of the data-sharing agreement between Facebook and WhatsApp. In 2014, Facebook told the Commission that it would be unable to automatically link data between accounts on the two services, but in August this year, the social network introduced a new privacy policy that does exactly that. WhatsApp user data — including phone numbers — is shared with Facebook in order to map social connections and deliver more relevant ads on both services.

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Skype, WhatsApp face increased privacy regulation in Europe

Computer World

Skype, WhatsApp and services like them could soon fall under the same European Union regulations as telephone calls and SMS text messages, a leaked legislative draft reveals.

Although Skype and WhatsApp can both be used to make voice calls and send text messages, they don’t fall under existing EU communications privacy legislation because they are data services that run over the top of an internet connection, rather than native functions of the network like phone calls and SMS.

But legislators want to bring such “over-the-top” services within the scope of rules protecting users’ privacy with their proposed Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulation, a draft of which was obtained by Politico (PDF) on Monday.

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Consumers Happy to Interact with Brands on Mobile Messaging Apps such as Facebook Messenger finds new study

Real Wire

53% of people in the UK and France who use mobile messaging apps such as Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp has interacted with a company via mobile messaging, or is open to doing so as long as they can block brands they are not interested in according to a new survey. But to avoid a consumer backlash, companies need to ensure messaging interactions are highly personalised and responsive.

The findings come from Kenshoo (www.Kenshoo.co.uk), the global leader in agile marketing, which commissioned a poll of 2,000 consumers split equally between the UK and France to explore the growing marketing opportunity presented by mobile messaging.

While messaging apps have until now been largely used for conversing with friends and family, it seems there is a willingness among consumers to use messaging to communicate with brands. Over half (51%) of messaging app users in Kenshoo’s study see messaging as faster and more immediate than email interactions with companies, while 48% feel it is going to be less hassle than voice calls.

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Mobile payments to reach USD 410.5 bln by 2020

The Paypers

According to a recent report by Javelin Strategy & Research, mobile retail payments, both online and at the point-of-sale, are expected to total USD 180 billion in 2016 and balloon to USD 410.5 billion by 2020.

In “Mobile Payments Convergence: Opportunities at the Intersection of In-person, Online and P2P Payments”, the percentage of consumers who reported using a mobile wallet in the last 30 days has grown from 12 % in 2014 to nearly one in four in 2016, which equates to 40 million Americans who have used a mobile wallet.

Mobile wallet and app providers, present and future, will be focusing more attention on mobile online payments than on proximity payments at the point-of-sale, Javelin predicts. While mobile proximity payments are expected to total more than USD90 billion in 2020, retail payments via mobile apps/browsers are projected to reach USD318.8 billion during the same period.

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Move aside startups. Banks are now muscling into mobile payments in Singapore

Venture Beat

Mobile payments are surging in Southeast Asia. According to a study by McKinsey, digital banking users in the region have doubled between 2011 and 2014. In Singapore, Samsung, Apple, and even Alibaba have entered the mobile payments space.

Of late, more traditional establishments have been rolling out mobile payments. In countries like Indonesia and Thailand, which have a large unbanked population, telcos lead the way with apps like Mandiri E-cash and TOT Just Pay. In Singapore, banks are moving fast.

According to research firm Ovum, 61 percent of banks worldwide would increase their spending on payment technologies in 2016, up from 52 percent the year before. They may be late to the game compared to smaller players, but they should not be underestimated.

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Holiday shoppers are buying fewer Fitbits and Apple Watches than expected

VentureBeat

Holiday shoppers aren’t buying as many Apple Watches and Fitbit wristbands as marketers had predicted amid broader difficulties by wearable smart device makers in expanding sales beyond early adopters.

Less than 40 million U.S. adults will use a wearable device at least once a month in 2016, down from an earlier forecast of 64 million monthly users, research firm eMarketer said in a revised projection on Tuesday. The longer-term outlook is also looking worse, with 52 million monthly users expected by 2019, slashed from the earlier forecast of 87 million.

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McDonald’s to Start Taking Orders Through UberEats in January

Mobile Marketing Magazine

McDonald’s will start accepting digital orders through UberEats website or mobile app in January, according to CNBC.

The international fast food chain and Uber’s on-demand meal delivery service will join forces to give those craving a Happy Meal the opportunity to have it delivered to their door. For now, however, the trial is only available in 200 restaurants in Florida – specifically Orlando, Tampa and Miami.

McDonald’s has been pretty late to the party when it comes to mobile. It only launched its first app towards the end of 2015 but had been planning to enter mobile ordering as early as July of the same year.

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Facebook Messenger launches 6-screen group video chat with selfie masks

TechCrunch

Teen app sensation Houseparty will get some competition as Facebook Messenger is launching its own split-screen group video chat feature. Six users can appear in split-screen at the time and don Snapchat-style selfie masks, while 50 total can listen and talk over voice while sending text, stickers, emojis, and GIFs.

The feature could make a Messenger a place to “livechill” with friends rather than just a way to send texts to exchange more utilitarian information or plan logistics. Instead of just popping in to fire off messages, you could hang out for extended periods on the app. Facebook frames it as “perfect for those spontaneous moments where text just isn’t enough”.

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80% of businesses want chatbots by 2020

Business Insider

Businesses are beginning to see the benefits of using chatbots for their consumer-facing products, according to a survey by Oracle.

The survey included responses from 800 decision makers including chief marketing officers, chief strategy officers, senior marketers, and senior sales executives from France, the Netherlands, South Africa, and the UK.

When asked which emerging technologies they are already using and which they intended to implement, 80% of respondents said they already used or planned to use chatbots by 2020. Chatbots are interactive software platforms that reside in apps, live chat, email, and SMS and can behave in a human-like manner.

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The top 10 mobile risks of 2016

2016 was a big year for mobile devices – in good and bad ways. Here are the biggest disasters we saw this year

Tech Republic

Mobile devices had a booming 2016, with usage of iOS and Android handhelds growing steadily throughout the year. By contrast, desktop operating systems other than Windows 10 and OS X generally showed a decline in growth. In fact, last month Marketing Land reported that global mobile internet usage was higher than that of desktop systems as of October, and predicted that nearly 80% of internet usage will be mobile by 2018.

As with any element of technology, more widespread usage leads to greater and more widespread threats, and mobility is no exception. Here’s a rundown of ten mobile risks we experienced in 2016, as well as some solutions to prevent or protect your devices from them (where applicable).

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