The van pulled up in a dusty lane in Jaipur, India, and five men wearing green Whats-App T-shirts jumped out. Before a gathering crowd, they launched into a short play designed to teach people how to recognise and reject fake news - one of many such skits performed across the country. It was a testament to how anxious Whats-App and its parent company, Facebook, are to defend their business in India after a series of lynchings inspired by false rumours spread using their app. But it was also a sign of how intensely Silicon Valley is now pinning its hopes on the developing world. Take Mark Zuckerberg's declaration last week that he wants to shift Facebook towards private messaging - by far the dominant form of social media in poorer nations. In a conference call with investors, he said most future growth would come from "developing countries", and emphasised his investments in Messenger, WhatsApp and their mobile payments systems. At Snapchat, too, CEO Evan Spiegel tried to reassure a...

BL Premium

This article is reserved for our subscribers.

A subscription helps you enjoy the best of our business content every day along with benefits such as exclusive Financial Times articles, Morningstar financial data, and digital access to the Sunday Times and Times Select.

Already subscribed? Simply sign in below.



Questions or problems? Email helpdesk@businesslive.co.za or call 0860 52 52 00.