Social media giant Facebook is in early-stage discussions for potential investments with content startups in India, including PopXo, an online community for women, two people familiar with the matter told Mint.
The intention is to get into the regional content space. India is one of the largest markets for Facebook and this year is crucial to it because of the upcoming general elections in the country. Mint had reported earlier that Facebook plans to start an operations centre in Delhi that will focus on preventing the spread of fake news ahead of the Lok Sabha Elections 2019.
One source told Mint that Facebook is trying to figure out how to structure investments in India. This comes after it has already tapped into online payments through WhatsApp and e-commerce through its marketplace.
A Facebook spokesperson, without commenting on potential investment plans in content startups, said the company works with a wide variety of partners including movie studios, TV networks, publishers, celebrities and creators from large organizations to startups.
Priyanka Gill, founder of PopXo, also did not confirm specific talks. “All major social media platforms engage with other digital platforms and publishers on a regular basis," she said.
Experts Mint spoke to say that Facebook’s interest in vertical content and news content startups could be because it needs strong partners who will build on its ecosystem and make it a “trusted source of information".
Moreover, Facebook hasn’t been able to crack the vernacular content space, one person familiar with Facebook’s strategy told Mint. “They are looking at more sources of content and are also looking at moderating and controlling fake news, which is why they would want to look at more credible sources of content through these startups."