Facebook on Tuesday kicked off the ‘Facebook Fuel for India’ virtual event to show off developments enabling new use cases in the country. The two-day event is bringing key Facebook executives including Co-Founder Mark Zuckerberg, Instagram Head Adam Mosseri, and WhatsApp Head Will Cathcart as well as industry speakers including Reliance Industries Chairman Mukesh Ambani. The event is essentially meant to detail how Facebook and its products including Instagram and WhatsApp are being used by millions of people and several entrepreneurs in the country.
India Vice President and Managing Director Ajit Mohan began the Facebook Fuel for India event on Tuesday. He said that the event is an effort “to showcase extraordinary stories of grit and resilience.”
“We are excited not just because the largest number of people who use WhatsApp and Facebook are in India or then more and more people who are new to the Internet are watching the first videos on the Facebook app, or that Instagram is offering an entire generation of creators and businesses are born on Instagram and are often only on Instagram, but also because we see ourselves in the story of India’s transformation, playing a supporting role, celebrating in your price,” said Mohan.
The executive also mentioned that India was inspiring Facebook’s products. The Menlo Park, California-based company brought products including payments on WhatsApp, Reels on Instagram, and Watch on Facebook with a focus on India, he said.
He also noted there are more than 500 million people in India using Facebook, WhatsApp, and Instagram apps. The company started its journey in the country in 2006.
Mohan was joined by Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg who co-founded Lean In Circles to bring a small group of like-minded people.
“I want more women in leadership, and more underrepresented minorities in leadership. I want more diversity of thought,” she said.
At the Fuel for India event, Facebook is also featuring stories of different entrepreneurs using its social network and apps Instagram and WhatsApp to boost their businesses. These include Milaap Co-Founder and President Anoj Vishwanathan, Pinbox Inclusion Co-Founder Gautam Bhardwaj, WhiteHat Jr Founder Karan Bajaj, and Caremongers India Founder Mahita Nagaraj, among others. Reliance Jio Directors Isha Ambani and Akash Ambani also joined the event to highlight their partnership with Facebook.
“India is actually home to the largest communities in the world, across Facebook and WhatsApp and getting there on Instagram as well,” Zuckerberg said.
In April, Facebook acquired a 9.9 percent stake in Jio Platforms that received the approval from the Competition Commission of India (CCI) in June. Zuckerberg and Ambani emphasised during the virtual session that the deal was aimed to support small businesses in the country.
“Through our partnership (Jio Platforms and Facebook), we will become a value creation platform for our customers and small businesses, giving them a chance to digitise and be at par with anybody else in the world,” said Ambani.
The virtual event comes amid the ongoing content moderation issues making Facebook responsible for supporting hate speech in the country. The company is also currently facing antitrust lawsuits in the US and other western markets due to its anti-competitive strategies.
In 2020, will WhatsApp get the killer feature that every Indian is waiting for? We discussed this on Orbital, our weekly technology podcast, which you can subscribe to via Apple Podcasts or RSS, download the episode, or just hit the play button below.