His speil about how he's "connecting the world" is undermined by his clear attempts to build a monopoly of social+communication, with an inefficient layer of distracting ads. Imagine a future where every time you want to electronically communicate with someone you have to spend mental energy filtering out ads. It's the equivalent of every road having a toll booth, directly paying into a rich person's bank account. This is the "connecting the world" Mark Zuckerberg has been trying to hide from those of us who aren't paying attention.
Nope. Engineers are dedicated there to increasing other things than the utility of the app. Interests aren't aligned with the users.
Same with removing chronological feeds. Turn things more and more into slot machines.
Something that nearly any other company would have been banished to the spambox for.
You also used to be able to reply to the message by replying to the notification email, so you could be a full conversation participant solely through email without ever opening the app.
Social media is best suited to that kind of business model - and most people won’t pay for a subscription.
So social media is broke?
I have it turned off, and the last 15 notifications are friend activity that has nothing to do with me.
Or it might have been just the doctor until someone complained and from that point on just the fact that Facebook knew about it might make them suddenly and automatically liable for further bad behaviour.
At the same time, that also makes it irrelevant to the point at hand, since it's not Facebook messenger at all, just general health posts and items offered by that medical group.
Any one that does communicate through them with their doctor, most likely doesn't know what HIPAA is or care.
To FB, it is the old "don't ask or tell" scenario.
And the reasoning to use it? "People are familiar with it from home". Well.. how about using something else and spend 30 mins on educating people? Oh, that might mean no new yacht for shareholders this year.
I wonder if you have to pay FB to promote them? /s
It was actually really cool, except nobody wanted to “own” the community, and eventually some assholes decided to be assholes and got it shut down.
I'll qualify that statement by adding that product management/design team is optimizing for engagement metrics and the engineers are developing from those blueprints. Blame product management for anti-UX decisions. No PO/PM is going to risk their career by spearheading an effort to lower app engagement metrics which results in a loss of advertising revenue.
Edit: rephrased one sentence
This is something people are currently very upset with them for doing.
So they can make things convenient, or keep your data safe, but its hard to do both.
Even if your argument made sense with respect to the thing people are currently very upset about (which I disagree that it does), there is absolutely NO inherent right for FB to exist if they're unable to do both (if it's just "hard", well then get busy).
If I want to keep my data safe, they get to "inconvenience" me? That's ridiculous, if they can't keep my data safe, they don't get shit.
"But it's hard!"
cry me a river
It's an API to publish a notification - a similar API to that used to build the core app. There's no additional sharing of data than what's already happening running the app.
Let's say you have a subscriber model, but than what kind of world will it be where only the wealthy have access to these communication technologies and access to social information.
Or you have a hybrid ad model with the ability to opt out by paying some fee. Than what kind of world will that be when privacy is a luxury item limited to how much you can afford.
The best solution I can think of is keeping the current model, but adding regulation and government oversight to limit some of the most damaging effects i.e. creating platforms that abuse human psychology to keep people clicking and make them addicted to these platforms.
I'm genuinely interested in other models people suggest.
This medium reached people rich and poor, all around the world.
The challenge here is greed.
One of the interesting topics in economics is the ability to subvert the supply-demand curve by extracting economic value without the participants awareness. In classical economics the equilibrium point is met when the buyer thinks they are paying too much and the seller thinks they are getting to little for a good or service. In the idealized experiment the buyer doesn't have any other choice, nor does the seller have any other customer to turn to.
But in our internet connected world there is an "invisible" (to the buyer) stream of value which is personal information about the buyer. To date there hasn't been a good way for the buyer to see or negotiate that value. GPDR helps that but it doesn't go far enough in some ways.
What GPDR doesn't supply (yet?) is the practical way of enforcing the theft of personally identifiable information for financial gain. So in your example of a hybrid ad model, if you 'opt out' and now pay a fee, how do you know that they aren't still just selling your data? And if they are selling your data to get extra value out of you being a customer, what recourse do you have when you discover it? What risk are they taking by pursuing that path and maximizing their revenue?
EDIT: From the article -- At the time of the sale, WhatsApp was profitable with fee revenue, although it is unclear by how much. (99 cents per year)
Yet, it might be worth contemplating a few details about that. First, it took decades to do so. During almost all of that period, phone use was very expensive for most people, making it something reserved for the rich. It's taken from 1876 to today for almost the entire world to have phone service.
Second, expansion of phone services was often controlled and directed by monopolistic companies. They invariably acted in incredibly greedy ways and had no compunctions about abusing their position(s). Extortionate long distance rates, asserting that only company-owned systems could touch the networks, and more were normal.
I understand why you view phone access as a good model, fundamentally different from an ad-based or subscriber-based model. Yet, it's possible that this approach historically had some rather significant drawbacks that might be worth contemplating.
Those same digital technologies mean a regulated social media monopoly could be much narrower. E.g., we could split Facebook into infra and client apps, or core features versus add-ons. You could make the social graph owned by a non-profit, and regulate it with a board where client app developers are represented. That would provide a much better balance of power than we saw with telcos versus consumers.
So, you're right! Shifts in technology brought prices down to a point where they're affordable to most! That's something enabled by a model that inherently advantages the rich over the poor. But the economic incentives created and encouraged by history and the model are just a detail, not worthy of inspection or being considered part of how we got here.
As for your proposal, I don't share your optimism for regulated monopolies here. They're a wonderful model for basic needs that everyone shares and that little change will be needed to over time. This describes electricity, water, and in some cases data transport.
It's certainly possible that social media services to date have hit this basic level of common infrastructure. If so, I clearly just don't understand exactly which services that covers or how they're the same level of fundamental as water. Can you help me with this? I need to understand before I can figure out if dismembering Facebook into a publicly owned council-run monopoly is the best way forward.
Especially because this would also probably mean doing something to ensure other, non-council-run social network providers didn't spring up and replace PublicBook.
I honestly don't believe your "help me understand" routine is anything but syrupy and disingenuous, an online rope-a-dope. If you're actually serious, please demonstrate that by providing your own best guess as to a plausible split and your concerns about the model; I'll do my best to help you with that.
I can think of several plausible ways to split up Facebook. The one I can think of that adheres most closely to the basic utility model would be for only the most foundational service to be handled by a regulated monopoly. That, I expect, would be a pseudonymous social graph where people can add and remove connections. Anything on top of that would be handled by third-party providers.
I can imagine other services that some people might consider foundational and thus desire to lump in with the above. Some might consider posts, walls, profiles, and groups part of it. Some might even consider chat part of the foundation.
The "online rope-a-dope" you describe is my attempt to avoid telling people that I am reasonably sure they are being silly. It's always possible that there's genuinely something I don't understand about the positions. It's happened before, it's happening now, and it will continue to happen in the future. It generally doesn't, but telling people I think they are being silly is generally not conducive to productive conversation.
Being over-the-top syrupy nice tends to go over better than pointed criticism, which tends to make people defensive. For example...
Under which set of laws would Facebook be nationalized in your proposal? American? French? English? Turkish? Saudi? What effect would this have on effects to combat fake news and hate speech? Whose definitions of "fake news" and "hate speech"? How are you going to make sure that users don't migrate to a new, better, and non-regulated-monopoly social network the way people migrated to Facebook from MySpace? Are you just going to take over that one too? How do you propose to ensure that client app developers with access to the ruling council don't use their position to push away other client app developers?
These aren't pointlessly detailed questions. They're ones that spring to mind almost immediately, and ones that any serious proposal that merited consideration would need to wrestle with. Some of them are major points of public policy which differ very significantly from polity to polity.
I would like to understand that you've gone through these questions and arrived at good answers. I want that to be true.
You're probably feeling defensive right now. A little attacked. Which is why I couched the whole thing in asking you to help me understand, because a person who feels attacked is not a person who is genuinely listening.
In much of the US, in the 70's, 80's, and 90's a telephone had a fixed monthly fee and 'free' calling to any other phone in the local area. Phone penetration was over 90% in 1970 and rose to over 95% by 1980 suggesting that even those at 50% below the poverty line in 1980 (roughly 6% of the US population) had access to a telephone.
So for many living in the US they have probably experienced being able to talk with all of their friends for "free" as long as they want, and if they were old enough arguing with siblings about who got to use the phone longest.
Further, in the "current" epoch, the article suggested that WhatsApp was profitable at 99 cents per year when it was acquired. I would not be surprised if that it is still the case that such a messaging service does not require advertising revenue to be cash flow positive. It just needs enough subscribers.
I was early 80s, and watched landline and mobile costs fall to negligible levels.
My current girlfriend was born in the late 80s (USA, but world traveler with family work), and I think from the start of highschool onward pretty much always assumed there was an internet connection and too-cheap-to-care calls even before everyone made their own VOIP/video chat messengers.
Something that came with the Internet, and didn't exist for me prior to its existence, was a large body of friends who were not local to me. Today, if I had to go back to metered long distance rather than what we have today it would absolutely be cost prohibitive! And clearly some people move around more than others and for them they might have a lot of friends and family outside of their local calling region back then as well.
The bottom line is that I can see the point you were making but I think we disagree on the magnitude of its impact on the general population that was living with phones at that time.
I left my smartphone and my smartwatch in my smart home when I went to work today (guess I'm not that smart).
I hear through the grapevine that my wife is losing her coolant because she can't text me every ten minutes, or locate me with Find My Friends.
I think I'll stop at a tiki bar on the way home.
We had multiple independent local phone companies one place I lived. I could call into the next state for free (and by dialing just five numbers), but my friends two miles away in the same state were 35¢ a minute.
As a point of interest, back when people used dialaround numbers to get lower long distance rates (800-Easy-ITT for ITT, 800-Pin-Drop for SPRINT, 950-4MCI for MCI, or 1010-NJB for New Jersey Bell, etc...) there was at least one service that would make you listen to an ad before connecting the call. In exchange, you got a super-low rate.
I don't know if it failed because of the advertising, or because the line quality was terrible.
I think that reasonably priced subscription model, perhaps taking in account the per capita income of the country, could help preserve privacy while also ensuring mass access to technologies.
> Let's say you have a subscriber model,
There was a company with a subscriber model. It worked pretty well and we loved it. Facebook bought it and destroyed the very idea behind it.
> but than what kind of world will it be where only the wealthy have access to these communication technologies and access to social information.
The same kind of world were all kinds of tech is expensive at first and then becomes cheaper and cheaper as it approaches and enter mainstream usage?
Nobody would argue today that we should have refused luxury cars to add airbags because "what kind of world would it be where only the rich has access to safer cars".
In the same way we shouldn't argue against people paying for better products.
That said, I think WhatsApp were planning to add other paid options like API access etc before they got eaten by Facebook.
Is it possible that perhaps this has been considered before, and perhaps even implemented?
It's also what email is.
Yet, you're describing email still in essence. A system where people interact very rapidly in a distributed, authority-less magic box based network. Email happens to be chunk-y, though in practice it tends to be nearly as fast as chat.
But I'll humor you. Now you're describing XMPP. Magic sandboxed chat applications, peer-to-peer, NAS storage, authority-free, and monitization-free. Wrap it up in Docker or something, and you have your turnkey magic. Right? Right!
You still have all the problems that come with this. For example, stemming abuse is a major problem with decentralized systems. How do you stop spammers? Appeal to the decentralized community and hope? Peer pressure has never been enough to stop this. Authority and trust problems run rife. Most users are too ignorant and unskilled to look after their systems properly, which is a problem you won't be able to magic away.
I'm trying to be nice here. You're re-inventing email, in a way that does nothing to stem the basic problems of email. You have all the idealism that created email to begin with - lovely, beautiful, admirable idealism! - and little of the pragmatism.
Fundamentally, there have been two kinds of decentralized, authority-less, un-monetized networks: those that are unpopular and those that become popular enough to be subject to a ton of abuse. Abuse that leads to professional service offerings that re-centralize, re-intermediate, and re-monetize the services in order to make them usable to ordinary people again. It's absolutely possible that your idea would be neither of those! It's just that so far I've not been shown anything convincing that this could be the case.
This is a strawman. I give you Usenet and IRC as counter examples.
Facebook can also employ the experience of it's Russian clone vk.com and let users share music (sharing the music that you like and that expresses the mood you'd like to share is a great way to communicate and many people love it!) while requiring those users who'd like to play long playlists in background pay a subscription fee.
A number of other premium features that can add value to a subscription comes on to my mind as well: invisible mode (I'd pay for it immediately - I really hate when others can see if I'm online or if I've read their message, I have been actively hating this for years, this is infuriating yet I don't mind if solving this problem would cost a dollar or two per month), posts promotion, additional typesetting features, profile promotion (top-suggest everybody to add me as a friend), verified status for whoever wants it (not just celebrities), voluntary additional surveillance/curation (for parents willing to protect their underage kids) etc. Introducing a cryptocurrency dedicated to replace old-fashioned likes (e.g. every time somebody likes your post/comment you get a coin) yet traded at a cryptocurrency exchange and accepted as a way of paying for the premium features can be another opportunity. Organic possibilities are limitless.
note I'm not suggesting we go back to that model. only pointing out we had a non ad based system before
(I've been toying with models like this for awhile, and not to say its an easy or simple solution to implement, especially when considering bad actors, but it seems the best chance at getting something "fair")
Alternatively could steal from games and add "cosmetics". Charge extra for things like themes that personalize but don't necessarily improve the experience. Items with enough value that people will "want" it but not "need" it.
No, there aren’t; this is a political line that doesn’t make any sense at all. This is why “livable wage” is a phrase: just getting above the poverty line does not imply you can live on your income. The poverty line is pegged too low to be meaningful, at least here in US.
Roughly $40 billion in revenue, divided by 2 billion users. Only the very poorest wouldn’t be able to afford it.
For example Elon Musk has his "Iron Man" persona that puts himself on a pedestal and projects an ideal that his companies will solve the worlds problems. Once you look behind the curtain you see that he uses this to justify long hours by his workers. The innovation he has is an acceptance of failure for mission critical systems and quality assurance like cars or rockets.
The moral of the story is that while the people at the top might make it seem like they do the right things for the right reasons the reasons that any rational person actually do are the right things for the reasons to expand your new business.
He looks and sounds so awkward in interviews that he may have as little charisma as I do… at least, if you can ignore the fact he’s a billionaire, which some people find very charismatic in itself.
That's definitely not the case unless you're really just out of touch or purposefully trolling here.
I think he is more self aware in general than other execs. He found away to mix self-interest with solving worlds problems. I mean there is still potential for things to go awry.
But at least he is not Facebook. He is not a casino owner or something similar.
With him I don't think you can separate the right reasons and the business reasons
I do agree that it was---in retrospect---unfortunate and optimistic of MZ to promise too much freedom and independence from FB. But it seems FB _did_ give WhatsApp a long runway, it's been 3-4 years since the acquisition. If their ideas don't work (wrt bringing in revenue in line with the acq. price), at some point you have to go back to square one and do the thing that works (also for IG), and do the FB-style ads/monetization.
I don't have a lot of sympathy for the WhatsApp founders. They took the money (they're worth almost $10B now), they did have 3-4 years to find their (and their team's) way within FB. It's cool that they don't like ads and moral standards or whatever, but come on, you have to be more rational when you're playing in the $10B league.
Disclaimer: I worked at FB previously for a short time.
Or, being able to choose between $10B and your values shows your character.
Certainly generates value for Facebook and retail, though.
There are only a few things you can know about someone clicking 'buy' as the result of an ad:
1. The ad platform booked top-line revenue
2. The seller booked top-line revenue
3. The buyer exchanged money for something they thought was worth it at the time of purchase.
That's it. Even #3 is conjecture, but it's likely enough that I'm willing to run with it for sake of argument.
We do not, and short of asking, can not know if that purchase added value to the buyer's life.
What you're describing for non-mainstream sellers is just gains from internet-scale distribution platforms, whether it's Facebook or Reddit or whatever. It lets the little guy reach lots of people on a much smaller ad budget because of the distribution technology and a platform's ability to grow a large network of users.
Whatever benefit there is might have nothing to do with Facebook (or any specific company) and have nothing to do with tracking users to target ads at them.
It might just be "the internet is a big lever" that lets smaller sellers more easily reach people generally.
That might be argument that ads, in general, can be valuable on Facebook. But it might be the case that the extra effort of personalizing them does not add further value, while it does have downsides with data privacy, tracking, unwanted ads, etc.
This seems like an extraordinary claim that would require extraordinary statistical evidence to believe it. Both evidence to ensure the methodology of comparing whatever Facebook does with blank audience ad serving to whatever is done with lookalike audiences, as well as the "much, much better" part and the "almost everyone" part.
For example, with Google and Facebook controlling so much of all advertising traffic, it could easily be the case that 'blank audience' ad purchasing (which is less in Facebook's interest, since it doesn't help highlight their specialized data products) are directed towards users with less likelihood to engage to begin with, regardless of algorithmic profile or interests.
Do we have any knowledge of the precise differences of the two treatments (blank vs. digital lookalike)? If not, how could we even begin to attribute success seen in the 'lookalike' category to any value-add from Facebook? As opposed to possibly gaming the different user groups to make such an A/B test always tilt in their favor.
This isn't rocket science. I've managed millions of dollars of ad spend across a dozen companies. I know lots of other people who manage ad spend. The only other digital channel that's anywhere near as targeted and scalable as Facebook is Google search, which is why the two combined make up 90% of new online ad spend (according to data).
But that experiment could only possibly tell you if Facebook ads, in general, are more effective than ads on other platforms. And that might be caused by all sorts of confounders, like the relative demographics or usage patterns being different on those other platforms, which have no connection to whether anything that Facebook does contributes to positive ad effect.
In particular, comparing with other ad platforms could not tell you whether Facebook invisible audience ad algorithms are any better or worse than Facebook algorithmically targeted audience ads (especially since you still wouldn’t know if Facebook privileges algorithmic ads in some way just because it’s good for their business if it appears that their specialized product is better than a non-specialized one).
> “This isn't rocket science.”
It’s funny to me that a lot of marketing, product, and A/B testing people express this attitude about understanding what succeeds in marketing & product problems.
When really, those questions require a great degree of statistical rigor that is like rocket science.
It takes a great deal of advanced econometrics theory or formal statistics theory to answer ad spend attribution questions in a way that’s not completely defeated by methodological flaws, poor experimental design, causal indeterminacy, or various statistical fallacies.
Perhaps it’s one reason why the claim that digital ads work is still so hugely debated, with many claiming that quantitatively, digital ads (including Facebook) utterly don’t work.
You posted some way of roughly approximating how much it helps. But looking at metrics like this in isolation is meaningless and there's no useful interpretation except for people (such as in the ad business) whose utility function for this topic only depends on the upside component.
Society at large also depends on downside components, like how much psychological drag the pervasive ads generate, how many people are deceived or manipulated into mis-wanting something purely because of ad repetition, how many times are ML-based personalized ads miscalculated, leaving a consumer to experience inappropriate or irrelevant ads because of algorithm malfunction. How much extra cognitive effort is required to maintain browsing solutions that mitigate tracking. How much of the ad experience facilitates addiction to mobile phones. And so on.
I am not claiming that I have a great way to roughly quantify these, but you could. For example, you could do eye-tracking and phone usage studies and try to roughly compute the amount of extra app time that is attributable to dealing with unwanted ads or app time attributable to ad-linked addictive behavior, and then estimate up what some average case cost of that time would be at a median salary or something, to roughly value that time. Or you could gather statistics on how accurate data-based ad personalization is and how often someone spends time costs processing misclassified ad categories they self-report as not relevant.
I conjecture that the financial cost of that lost time (which is an under-estimate that doesn't factor in other psychological drag or second order effects) would, when aggregated over hundreds of millions or billions of people, add up to waaay more cost that what the offsetting value from effective ads and product discoveries offered, meaning that from a perspective other than the consumer corporations that profit from the transactions, it would look like a giant net loss for society.
edit: this is supposed to be a WhatsApp joke.
When Whatsapp did charge for iOS users, it was a one time payment as well. So not yearly regardless.
The app wouldn’t have the popularity it does have if it charged everyone $1 a year. That’s significant to some people vs others. Especially when looking at WhatsApp’s global user base.
Whatsapp was operating at a loss during its high growth time period before the Facebook acquisition.
(Signal is free, though, and Open Source …)
There isn’t one. LinkedIn is sort of an exception but it’s not for general use. The market isn’t providing s supply of these products so I don’t see how you can say there’s no demand. New social networks have such high barriers to entry that you can’t just point at some random failed paid one as an example. Loads of free ones fail too.
What would be interesting is if Facebook offered a paid, no data-mining option. But they do t seem interested in innovating.
Isn't it like saying "I paid for the car, why do I have to pay for gas"? Somebody has to pay for engineers, infrastructure etc. If not the end users, then the advertisers.
I guess it is the mindset/understanding. The same person who won't pay $1 for email (for example) will pay for Netflix, because somehow in their mind, it takes money to make movies but it doesn't take money to write software or run servers.
I'm talking about distributed services here, 'run your own' as in run an instance for your family and any friends you care to provide those services for. I've been doing this literally for decades, ever since I got a permanent internet connection in the 90's. Others here are doing the same, this is not some outlandish concept.
By paying for internet access you pay to have the ability to send data all over the world. If you then also pay for a device which can provide services with that data using free software, which interacts with other such devices owned and operated by other people who likewise pay for internet access and for those devices and the power to run them (etc) there is no need to pay yet again to use those services.
There is no need to pay engineers to run the services as they're running on your own hardware using free software. You already pay for infrastructure through your internet access payments. You pay for your own infrastructure at home.
Okay, do you also fix your car, make your clothes, fix your plumbing...?
How can we reasonably expect an average person to install, configure, maintain non trivial systems like emails?
We get paid to do things we want to do and are good at, and we pay others for services/goods that we need but aren't capable (or don't have the time or interest) of doing it ourselves. It is unreasonable and impractical to expect everyone to do everything themselves.
Nobody expects the average person to install 'non-trivial systems like emails', just like nobody expects them to configure, build and install Android or iOS on their mobile devices yet still they use those devices without undue problems. They even update the things to new releases, mostly without problems. The reason for that is that someone went to the effort of packing up Android and iOS so that it is possible for just about anyone to install them on their devices.
> We get paid to do things we want to do and are good at, and we pay others for services/goods that we need but aren't capable (or don't have the time or interest) of doing it ourselves. It is unreasonable and impractical to expect everyone to do everything themselves.
This is where free software enters the equation, a few people working on a project like this can make a huge difference. Maybe those people get paid to work on free software, maybe not, this is irrelevant in this context. What is relevant is that digital technology does away with scarcity, the work of a few or one can be made accessible to the world without cost other than that of internet access (for which, as stated, the user already pays).
 While I do not have a car myself I do fix my wife's as well as my motorbikes and tractors. I generally do not make my clothes but I do fix them. Yes, I fix my own plumbing, not that strange given that I restored and partly built our house which includes installing said plumbing. I'm currently building roof trusses for yet another build-out. Specialisation is for insects.
I think you're right about Zuckerberg as a young leader. Start making money and you'll start wanting more and more just to see how much you can make.
There should be a law that says that ads should be clearly identifiable as such. Like: they should be placed in a frame with the word "advertisement" on top of them. (Coincidentally, this would also make it easy for ad-blockers to remove them).
For me it’s all about keeping the choice with the user and away from the seller. To my mind, there should be strong evidence that you are really looking for something before sellers are able to interrupt/contact you.
A tollbooth is an access fee, which is the opposite model of ad revenue.
Billboards are illegal in some cities and along some roads in the United States.
The only mass market "free, but pay at some point" model is ads. Nothing else. That is the last 10yrs of Silicon Valley and pretty much every startup today. Cause if you have a great idea and decent execution, FANG companies have so much power to enter the market and crush you, 1st mover advantage is the exception nowadays. Or at least buy you out, github is a perfect example.
The only thing really surprising about Facebook is how consistently well they have executed that function, and for how long they have incrementally optimized it. Zuckerberg deserves some blame/credit for that for sure.
Hitler was a great leader too.
Someone said that the people who love America the most are the immigrants who has to endure the crap back in their home country. I can totally relate to this. I have lived in a country where my privacy and personal judgment didn't mean anything. The government could do whatever with your life, and people can ruin your life and kill your whole family by accusing you of a story they hear from the vines [1, 2]. Maybe  - not from the same country, but it is the same story.
I make a point to not have Facebook, Messenger, Instagram, Whatsapp (now) - basically anything that Zuckerberg and co. laid their hands on. I fucking hate the whole idea of any entity blatantly time and again disrespecting my privacy and judgments to advance their agenda and make money. The truth is I really have no control over what it collects from me, what it shows me, what it tells me, what it advertises to me, what it hides from me. I know if I go with it, the decision of foregoing my privacy will go back and bite me when I need it the most. It doesn't matter what they say they stand for; it doesn't matter how many of my peers are using; it doesn't matter what I miss out; it doesn't matter how weird people think I am; it doesn't matter what opportunities I will lose. I have made a decision two years ago to never consider using Facebook, and I will do my damnest to stay away from Facebook and their products and I will try my damnest to convince people to do the same.
That's how much distaste I have for Facebook and their platform as a person who had a taste of injustice. Zuck might be on top of the laws and the world and has a lot of allies, but it's not like I have not seen that and I have to fear that. And that's probably the most beautiful thing about America.
I've gotten my wife to quit FB and download her data and request deletion (GDPR), and I've quit a while back and we run facebook blockers. I still don't expect to evade FB's ongoing trawl.
Really feels like it is coming straight from a dystopian future, where the workers are kept happy with little candies, and the promise to work for a better world, while also policing each others to see who got it better next door, while the big bosses are in their towers planning their next move.
If you don't feel like a "sheep" or "token" after realizing that you are fighting over the size of a toilet or a desk, then you are deep deep into it.
Knowing facebook owned it always made me a little nervous, but given that it was end-to-end encrypted, I figured Facebook wasn't getting any more from me then they would from all my facebook-using-friends who would send me SMS's before.
But I'm worried about how long I can continue to use the service moving forward, which is sad as this is my main way to communicate with relatives who live in other countries. And I doubt I can convince an elderly relative to switch to Signal, as we're still working on teaching her how everything in WhatsApp works.
I also recently purchased an Oculus. I like it way more than the current Vive revisions (although I want to have a non-HTC headset and Valve Knuckles as my next VR set), but the fact that it's owned by facebook unsettles me as well.
In the end, you'll have to do some introspection to see if the convenience gained is worth the privacy lost. How essential is it that you communicate in real-time with your relatives? Would your relationship be substantially different if you sent email or wrote letters?
But it's definitely a trade-off, so I at least kind of have a choice.
I also realize other peoples' choice of family/friends make that hard for them. (My FB-addict-mother and I email, and at this point even the passive-aggressive bits about not seeing pictures has stopped.)
But if you can, I can attest that the internet is a much nicer place with a big hole where FB (and similar hostile entities) used to be.
You say "everyone" is willing to pay that. I'll tell people about an amazing app that solves their problems they are complaining about and they go and see it's a couple dollars (one time purchase) and still complain and usually don't buy it.
There will never be a popular messaging service or social network that relies on subscriptions (maybe subscriptions for additional features though)
The process of putting in your creditcard number, entering your password for google play/paypal/etc is just enough of a barrier to go 'whatever!'.
I think Signal or something of that nature will be the ultimate endgame for communication systems. They're way too easy to make, they're cheap to maintain, and they're hard to monetize without being scummy. This is the perfect formula for a non-profit to step in. I think the WhatsApp founders alone could maintain a worldwide textual communication network for the rest of their lives using a small fraction of their wealth.
I also use Signal ( and about 10 other messaging apps ) and while good, it’s a little rough around the edges and needs improvement.
Facebook only have access to the metadata.
FB, via the WhatsApp app, have access to your unencrypted messages before the app encrypts them and sends them on. So, there's reason to worry now that FB is in full control. I have no doubt they'll extract data from your conversations and inject targeted ads.
Edit: Am I wrong? Do they not have access to the plain text?
From WhatsApp themselves : "WhatsApp end-to-end encryption ensures only you and the person you're communicating with can read what's sent, and nobody in between, not even WhatsApp. Your messages are secured with locks, and only the recipient and you have the special keys needed to unlock and read your messages."
Similarly it needs decrypted on the other side and displayed to the other user, at which time the app again has accesd to clear text versions.
I don't believe there's any way to encrypt the message before the app sends the message / while it is displaying to the recipient
WhatsApp tells their users and more importantly the US Gov they do not have any access to the message content itself. For this attack surface to be an issue, that would mean WhatsApp is telling a bold faced lie, secretly exfiltrating the plaintext to a 3rd party, and doing so without getting caught by any black-box auditing.
But overall I would swap back to different apps were WhatsApp to be 'compromised' or misused. Discord text chat for my gaming group, Signal for some tech chats, etc.
Overall it's a shame, since I was very appreciative of the approach the Whats-App founders took. But if we're lucky, WhatsApp will remain mostly the same for a while.
For my 84 year old neighbour, not so. He regularly pops round for help with sharing a picture on WhatsApp.
It's beyond my neighbour's ability to learn how to use WhatsApp correctly. Learning another messaging app for him is not an option.
You just can't be the first person to start the conversation
I can't send a message to anyone, without giving it access to everyone. How daft is that.
I wouldn’t recommend Signal to anyone who’s not paranoid about privacy and security. It still needs to improve a lot on UX, reliability and many other fronts.
This is not a norm in silicon valley/states?
It's funny how Americans get endlessly bashed for being prudes about the human body, and then somehow on this topic they get bashed for not being big enough prudes about the human body.
Here's why that is: Americans simply get bashed no matter what direction they go on any subject. It's done solely to make the person doing the bashing or mocking feel good.
If the stalls went all the way to the floor, it would be decided by elitist snobs in Europe that that is prudish behavior and ridiculous because there's nothing shameful about going to the bathroom and it's a natural function of the glorious human body. It would go like this: ah those stupid Americans with their fear of the human body, and their overly private bathroom stalls. Dumb Americans are afraid to even know that there's another human in the next stall, even a 12 inch floor gap is too much, because there might be a foot over there somewhere. It's silly how uncomfortable Americans are about normal functions of the human body, they can't even tolerate a small gap in the bottom of the stalls.
On the other, I really value knowing if someone is in the stall next to me and how many people are in the bathroom. If the stalls extend to the ground how am I supposed to scan for legs? Someone could be hiding in there waiting to frighten me! I cannot use the bathroom until everyone has left it. Just how am I supposed to verify that some quick-footed coworker hasn't made their way in during someone's loud flush?
I cannot stomach this game of chance.
Most places with full-coverage stall doors also have occupancy indicators on the outside - if you go in and lock the door, it changes from green to red.
Shorter walls are cheaper, but it also makes it easier to clean, easier to help someone in case of an emergency, and easier to tell if the stall is occupied.
Someone needs to ask for long doors in order to have them built in the US.
It is very weird the first time you see them coming from Europe but it seems to be the norm here