Zuck says he regrets not learning from WeChat earlier

The Chinese messaging service already has many of the features discussed by Zuckerberg.

When The Information founder Jessica Lessin reposted an old article she’d written in 2015 about “What Facebook should learn from WeChat” on her Facebook page, the platform’s founder Mark Zuckerberg stepped in himself, saying that he regretted not listening to Lessin’s advice four years ago.

Lessin’s original analysis, which was published on March 25, 2015, applauded Facebook’s move to open up Messenger to businesses and added that if the company gets a few things right, including data-sharing and payments, the move could be a big deal for consumers and businesses.

The article also highlighted WeChat’s “official accounts” function which allows individual followers to get updates and order goods/services directly from the brands opening such accounts and allows brands to get insights into its consumers, including information on gender and consumers’ phone brands.

“I think Facebook will have to offer businesses similar data if it wants sustainable adoption over time beyond early adopters,” Lessin wrote back then.

Zuckerberg last week in a blog post laid out a new direction for Facebook. “We plan to build this the way we’ve developed WhatsApp: focus on the most fundamental and private use case — messaging — make it as secure as possible, and then build more ways for people to interact on top of that, including calls, video chats, groups, stories, businesses, payments, commerce, and ultimately a platform for many other kinds of private services,” he wrote.

Commentators interpreted this by saying that “Facebook wants to be like WeChat“. The Chinese messaging service already has many of the features discussed by Zuckerberg. However, the Chinese messenger does not include end-to-end encryption.

Editor: Nadine Freischlad