Facebook to build WeChat

Mark Zuckerberg wants to build WeChat for the West

It will revolve around turning the social network’s messaging services into something akin to a Chinese mega-app

In his spare time Mark Zuckerberg likes to run. In 2016 Facebook’s boss pledged to cover 365 miles (587km) that year and, ever the overachiever, completed the challenge by July. He does not practise martial arts, but his almost discomfiting poise could lead you to mistake him for a master of something like aikido. That would be appropriate, for in his professional life Mr Zuckerberg is trying to turn his opponents’ energy against them.

When in early March he announced that Facebook would follow a “privacy-focused vision for social networking”, complete with encrypted messages that even the firm cannot peer into, observers interpreted this as a defensive move. Some discerned a belated response to outrage over privacy abuses on the world’s largest social network. Others saw the plan to knit together its instant-messaging services, chiefly Messenger and WhatsApp, as a way to make the company harder to break up, as some American politicians demand. Others still spied a ruse to escape liability for violent user content, now that Facebook would no longer be able to read any of it.

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