In no particular order, here are MediaNama’s top 10 stories of the week ended 18th February 2018

MediaNama would like to thank its sponsors: Info Edge, PhonePe & E2E, for their support.

WhatsApp’s UPI payments feature now live, how will it impact things

Update (February 12, 2018): WhatsApp has begun rolling out it’s UPI based payments feature in India. The feature has been made live on both Android and iOS. All users will not be able to see the feature yet as the rollout seems to be a phased one. However, the service gets activated after someone with access to the payments feature messages the user. Read it here

SBI Buddy registered users grew 4.88% QoQ to 12.5 million in Q3FY18

State Bank of India (SBI)’s mobile wallet, SBI Buddy now has 12.505 million registered wallet users at the end of the December quarter (Q3FY18). The number of wallets grew 4.88% from 11.923 million in the preceding quarter and grew around 57.6% from 7.935 million in the corresponding quarter last year. In Q1FY18, the number of wallet users stood at 10.73 million. Read it here

Apple’s India revenues and Mac sales were an all-time quarterly record in Q1 2018

Apple’s revenue from India was “an all-time quarterly record” for the quarter ended December 31, 2017 (Q1 2018), Apple CFO Luca Maestri said during the company’s earnings call. He added that the company registered “double digit revenue growth in all our geographic segments.” Apple posted all-time quarterly records in revenue in several other markets, including the US, Western Europe, Japan, Canada, Australia, Korea, Mainland China, Latin America, the Middle East, and Central and Eastern Europe. Read it here

Unilever threatens to pull ads from ‘toxic’ online platforms

Unilever, one of the world’s biggest consumer goods company, has threatened to pull its ads from digital platforms such as Facebook and Google if the tech companies don’t do more to minimize divisive content on their platforms. Read it here

Facebook’s use of personal data and privacy settings ruled illegal by German court

Facebook’s default privacy settings and use of personal data are against German consumer law, a judgement handed down by a Berlin regional court said.

The court found that Facebook collects and uses personal data without providing enough information to its users for them to provide meaningful consent. The company’s “authentic name” policy – a revision of a rule that once required users to use their “real names” on the site, but which now allows them to use any names they are widely known by – was also ruled unlawful. According to the ruling, users must be allowed to sign up for the service under pseudonyms to comply with a decade-old privacy law. Read it here

Ola begins Australia operation with free rides in Perth: Reports

Update (14th February): Cab-hailing company Ola, has reportedly made a soft launch of its services in Australia, starting with the city of Perth. As a part of the offer, Perth-based customers will be given their first two rides free up to the value of $10 per ride. Read it here

India Today Group fires journalist following her tweet against fake news

The India Today Group has terminated the contract of Angshukanta Chakraborty, the political editor of its opinion and commentary platform, DailyO after she refused to delete a tweet from her personal account. Read it here

Neeraj Arora quit the Paytm board a few weeks back

WhatsApp’s global business head, Neeraj Arora resigned from the board of directors of Paytm’s parent One97 Communications. Sources told MediaNama that Arora had in fact quit the board a few weeks back. He had been appointed to the board back in June 2015, along with Facebook’s Ruchi Sanghvi, and InMobi founder Naveen Tewari. Read it here

On Paytm vs Whatsapp, and governance issues at NPCI

Paytm CEO Vijay Shekhar Sharma (VSS) made some fairly strong accusations yesterday in an interview with CNBC-TV18. Moving beyond the “Facebook is the most evil company in the world” rhetoric, there are substantial policy issues raised here, especially about governance at NPCI, which is a bank-owned non-profit company, which owns and operates critical payments infrastructure like UPI and IMPS, and also owns and operates the BHIM application, in competition with other UPI apps. Read it here

Google Tez now offers utility bills payment option

Google Tez now offers the option of paying utility bills. Users will be able to pay electricity bills for BESCOM Bangalore, BEST Mumbai, CESC Kolkata, and Tata Power Delhi and Mumbai among several others, and gas bills for Adani Gas Gujarat, Indraprastha Gas NCR, and Mahanagar Gas Mumbai among others. They will also be able to pay postpaid mobile bills for Aircel, Airtel, Idea and Vodafone, as well as landline bills for MTNL in Mumbai and Delhi, and BSNL. Read it here