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from Breakingviews:

Facebook is near-universal buyer in virtual world

By Richard Beales

The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.

In a virtual world, Facebook could justify buying not just WhatsApp but almost every other social networking and chat app on the planet. The company’s $160 billion market cap values its 1.3 billion monthly active users at nearly $130 each. Most of its peers look much cheaper. Clamp on an Oculus Rift virtual reality headset – the product of another company just bought by Facebook – and there’s a case for Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg gobbling them all up.

The acquisitive conglomerates of the past – even Jack Welch’s General Electric - used high price-to-earnings multiples to help snap up less generously valued targets whose businesses, with luck, were accorded the higher valuation ratio once rolled up. Web properties like WhatsApp often lack the profit for that numbers game. But value per user offers a way to spin a similar argument.

WhatsApp had about 450 million monthly active users, or MAUs, when Facebook agreed to buy it in February for $19 billion. The price was around $42 per user, a relative steal – and the messaging service is growing at warp speed. On this measure, the WhatsApp price was roughly in line with Instagram, which Zuckerberg bought for $1 billion in 2012 when it had just under 30 million registered users.

from Photographers' Blog:

Instagram – a platform for professionals?

London, United Kingdom

By Russell Boyce

Global Editor, News Projects, Reuters Pictures

Two amazing pictures showed up on my screen over the past few days. The first was from Myanmar, where a Rohingya Muslim woman was pictured holding her malnourished twins. The second captured a deadly explosion in Iraq.

Both were sent out to our clients on the newswire, and I decided to share them on social media. First I posted them to Twitter, with links to Reuters.com slideshows and our Wider Image website. The people who follow us on Twitter know what to expect – breaking news pictures from around the globe including some images that are quite brutal.

from Breakingviews:

Snapchat bid triples Facebook’s desperation

By Robert Cyran

The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.

Facebook’s Snapchat bid shows triple the desperation. The social network shelled out $1 billion for no-revenue Instagram a little over a year ago. Now it’s said to be dangling as much as $3 billion to lure in a mobile app that sends self-destructing digital images. Facebook’s apparently escalating need to buy off marauders at its moat suggests its defenses may be scalable.

from Breakingviews:

Twitter may grow fat and happy on low-patent diet

By Reynolds Holding

The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.

Twitter could grow fat and happy on its low-patent diet. The social network, which is due to go public in the next few weeks, has an incredibly slim portfolio of intellectual property. Its nine patents may leave Twitter vulnerable to lawsuits and light on proven assets. But a policy of allowing engineers some control over their inventions speeds innovation, lures top talent and cuts legal costs.

from Jack Shafer:

Hate your free service? Go tweet yourself

Twitter users by the thousands -- or maybe even the hundreds! -- stubbed their scrolling fingers yesterday at the news of a new default setting in the popular service. Previously, links to photos or videos in tweets hosted on Twitter servers did not appear in a user’s "timeline." Now, visual previews "will be front and center in tweets," the company announced.

By Web standards, the Twitter change was incremental. But as Wired's Mat Honan and BuzzFeed's John Herman explained, it nonetheless infuriated longtime users who like their information-compressed, character-based Twitter just the way it is. These veteran users regard the inclusion of visuals to their Twitter timeline like the addition of a fistful of arrowroot to their miso soup, and don't care that the visuals will make it easier for the company -- as it approaches a public offering -- to sell ads and compete with the visually richer Facebook and Google+ services.

from Breakingviews:

Hope tweets eternal for Twitter IPO valuation

By Robert Cyran and Richard Beales
The authors are Reuters Breakingviews columnists. The opinions expressed are their own.

Twitter’s immature market debut leaves plenty of room for investors’ animal spirits. Early disorganization and a late focus on the top line make the microblogging service seem younger than Facebook when it went public. The social network was profitable, while Twitter is in the red – but its revenue is growing faster than at Mark Zuckerberg’s outfit.

from Breakingviews:

Mark Zuckerberg’s new IPO religion wins disciples

By Jeffrey Goldfarb
Thea author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.

Mark Zuckerberg’s new religion should attract plenty of disciples. The Facebook founder’s early contempt for the idea of an initial public offering was supposed to influence a generation of Silicon Valley entrepreneurs. The stock’s calamitous debut in May 2012 only reinforced the resistance. Zuckerberg and Facebook have come around, though – and many others are set to follow.

from India Insight:

Social media not a game changer in 2014 elections

By Aditya Kalra and David Lalmalsawma

Political parties in India are relying more on social media ahead of the 2014 election as a way of increasing voter support, even though politicians in general do not expect such efforts to significantly influence election results.

Parties are trying to ride the digital wave by conducting workshops to teach leaders and foot soldiers how to improve engagement on websites such as Facebook and Twitter.

from India Insight:

Shashi Tharoor on Congress’ social media plans, digital presence of Gandhis

By Aditya Kalra and David Lalmalsawma

Political parties in India are relying more on social media ahead of the 2014 election as a way of increasing voter support, even though politicians in general do not expect such efforts to influence election results.

India Insight interviewed Shashi Tharoor, minister of state for human resources and one of the earliest adopters of Twitter in Indian politics. Here are edited excerpts of the interview:

from India Insight:

Arvind Gupta, BJP IT cell head, on party’s social media plans

By Aditya Kalra and David Lalmalsawma

Political parties in India are relying more on social media ahead of the 2014 election as a way of increasing voter support, even though politicians in general do not expect such efforts to significantly influence election results.

India Insight interviewed Arvind Gupta, head of the Bharatiya Janata Party’s IT division, in July about social media and the party's plans for the elections. Here are edited excerpts:

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