Ng: Epayments and beating revenge porn

SOMETHING happened yesterday. The shares of Tencent went up, and the company was suddenly worth more than $522 billion.

That puts the company among the top 10 in the world, and this company is from China. At that price, it is worth more than Alibaba ,which as of yesterday, was worth $480 billion, and worth more than Facebook, which had a current market value of $519 billion.

Tencent is a holdings company, and has a 12-percent ownership of Snapchat and five percent of Tesla. But the bulk of its capitalization and market value comes from its chat software, WeChat, which is now used by close to a billion people, mostly in China. What makes Wechat so popular and compelling is simple – you not only can chat, but you can do transactions such as buying things and paying with it.

Two months ago, in China, I was lining up in a mall to buy snacks, and it seemed that almost everybody in the 20-person line was paying using their cell phones. I was practically the only one paying cash! Yes, almost anyting in China, including beggars, can be paid without cash by simply using WeChat software. I saw some beggars there. They simply put up a QR code so that the people could transfer money to them without cash. Our guide said she tipped the restaurant waiter using Wechat since she did not have any change.

WeChat is the leader in electronics payment, and followed closely by Alibaba, with Alipay. Both companies are in the forefront in the world when it comes to electronic transaction payments. Come Chinese New Year in a few weeks, and a few hundred million Hung Pao (red envelopes with money) will be exchanged. Nobody will be buying red envelopes anymore!

Here in Philippines, Alibaba has announced it will be working with Globe to extend its epay facility. That would be great. Being able to pay using the phone (without a credit card) is something that we desperately need to push e-commerce in the Philippines.

On another matter, Facebook announced something interesting, but I don’t know whether people will take it up. As you may know, revenge porn is something that is starting to be prevalent and alarming. Revenge porn is the sharing of nude or compromising pictures by those who used to be in a relationship. These pictures can be used in the future. If the boyfriend has a picture of the girl, and they broke up, the boyfriend may threaten to publish that picture of the girl to embarrass her. Or, if it falls on somebody else’s hands, that person can blackmail the victim into paying up or face humiliation by the photos’ publication on social media.

To prevent this, Facebook wants you to send them such pictures. They will read it, scan it, and create a special hashtag for it. They say that this will prevent anybody from posting that picture again because that picture will automatically be banned from the system from being posted or sent through Messenger.

Wow. But can you trust Facebook to do this properly? It would have been great if they gave us a utility to do the scanning ourselves, and generate a special ID. And any picture with that ID will not be posted. That way, it will do a similar job without having to share compromising pictures.

What do you think?
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