Home-grown Hike Messenger has accused Facebook of blocking an option in its advertisements which lets people visit the chatting application's website. Run by Kavin Mittal, son of Bharti Enterprises Chairman Sunil Mittal, Hike competes with Facebook-owned WhatsApp.
Hike is owned by a joint venture of Bharti and Japan's Softbank. "Advertisers have, among other options, the option to 'Send people to your website'. A few weeks back we were suddenly blocked from using this option, while we were able to use other non action-led options," a Hike spokesperson told PTI.
The spokesperson further added that initially, they assumed it was a technical glitch, but when the team wrote to Facebook, the social networking giant said Hike will not be able to run the ads.
"There are specific products and services that cannot be advertised on Facebook - looks like Hike is one of these. Unfortunately, you will not be able to run these ads. Facebook said," the spokesperson said about the response Hike received from Facebook.
A query sent to Facebook by PTI remained unanswered. Over-the-top (OTT) players such as Hike and WhatsApp use internet to offer voice and messaging services to consumers.
Hike had recently became the second largest messaging app in India with 70 million users. The app was launched in December 2012 and has raised USD 86 million from Tiger Global and BSB till date.