Facebook’s Onavo Gives Social-Media Firm Inside Peek at Rivals’ Users

Facebook’s Onavo Gives Social-Media Firm Inside Peek at Rivals’ Users

August 14th, 2017
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Information from data-security app shows company what people do on their

phones beyond suite of firm’s apps.


														
							

Late last year, Facebook employees used an internal database of a sampling of mobile users’ activity to observe that usage of Snap’s flagship app, Snapchat, wasn’t growing as quickly as before, people familiar with the matter said. They saw that the shift occurred after Facebook’s Instagram app launched Stories, a near-replica of a Snapchat feature of the same nameIn February, just before going public, Snap confirmed that its user base grew more slowly in the last three months of 2016 than the prior year. Snap’s latest financial figures Thursday showed that its growth challenges persist.

Facebook’s early insight came thanks to its 2013 acquisition of Israeli mobile-analytics company Onavo, which distributes a data-security app that has been downloaded by millions of users. Data from Onavo’s app has been crucial to helping Facebook track rivals and scope out new product categories, The Wall Street Journal reported last week.

Alphabet Inc., through its Google Android operating system for smartphones, and AppleInc. also have the ability to monitor how rivals’ apps perform on their mobile platforms, but it isn’t clear whether they use that information to shape their product road maps.

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