Rohan Seth quoted in The Print on Facebook’s Oversight Board

Rohan Seth, Policy Analyst at the Takshashila Institution, was quoted in The Print’s Talk Point on Facebook’s Oversight Board. The article was published on 10 May 2020. Seth was quoted as saying:

The Facebook investment is welcome news for the economy. With government investment constrained, and corporate investment drying up, Facebook’s bid will attract plenty of eyeballs globally. In a climate where the world is struggling to find a bright spot for growth, this is exactly the right kind of attention to grab.

It is also not a foregone conclusion that the deal will establish an e-commerce monopoly. There are seven key assets to a standards war — control over an installed base of users, intellectual property rights, ability to innovate, first-mover advantages, manufacturing abilities, strength in complements, brand name and reputation. Given the deal, Jio-Facebook will have the first-mover advantage thanks to WhatsApp and JioMart.

However, a first-mover advantage on its own does not rule out either Amazon or Walmart (Flipkart) competing in this space. There is every chance it may end up being one of those times where doing it right is more important than doing it first.

The deal is a great opportunity for Facebook to monetise WhatsApp and morph it into a version of WeChat for India. For kirana stores, in the near future, it might mean making a wider range of cheap fast mover consumer goods available to more consumers.