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Ever since Facebook, after paying billions of dollars for WhatsApp, required the instant messaging app to deliver profitability, things seem to revert to a sane principle that should never be abandoned: instant messaging apps are not supposed to be profitable, but they are To facilitate communication between people.
There’s one problem with overlaying a business model with an instant messaging app: it’s something that computer engineering students do as a class assignment. It’s not particularly sophisticated or inherently complex. The idea is that if you want someone to pay to use an instant messaging app, it not only has to be differentially better than the competition, but it also has to be able to attract many, many users to the network too create effect: when you log in, you find out that your friends already have an account there. Unless you charge for it, the alternative is very uncomfortable for users as instant messaging is the place they share information with their friends and family and the idea that you are spying on them to try to get that information monetize, makes them feel constantly spied on.
What is the problem? WhatsApp has long been the jewel in the crown of Facebook, the most popular and those who see it as its future, and the prospect of a user mass exiting by users costing more than twenty billion dollars, is terrifying. But like I said, it’s not difficult to make a good instant messaging app. The real challenge is to achieve the network effect. Meanwhile, some of the already established WhatsApp competitors like Telegram or Signal are ready to offer an alternative, and downloads have increased 1,200% since WhatsApp announced changes to its policy: Telegram downloads already started by a relative For its large user base, it grew by 98% in the first four months of 2021 and that of Signal, which was a little lesser known, by a staggering 1,192%.
Either way, they are applications that do their job unsurprisingly and very well: encrypted, secure, and free from the threat of attempts to monetize their users’ data. They’re not the same: given the choice, experts prefer Signal’s privacy guarantees over Telegram guarantees and the fact that the former is part of a non-profit foundation that only aims to offer a good open source messaging tool while the latter is under the Controlling is by Pavel Durov, an eminent Russian developer who has fled his country and has so far financed it from his own funds, but has already announced that he will soon use it economically while trying to respect users’ privacy. In my case, I uninstalled WhatsApp a long time ago and used both Signal and Telegram instead. At the moment I’ve never had any privacy issues.
Is signal the answer? Probably yes, as its creator, Moxie Marlinspike, created the encryption protocols used by WhatsApp. In any case, the choice of tool we go to when we give up WhatsApp depends less on us and more on the decision of our friends and family to guide us through this change, which is what users interested in these issues force missionaries to do so and try to get the word out.
Fortunately, common sense usually prevails, and the idea of concentrating activities with consequences for our privacy under one roof does not seem advisable, especially if this provider has been found to be a complete disaster in the management of this data and only on it is interested in monetization. Whether or not you use Signal for your instant messaging, escaping the clutches of Mark Zuckerberg is always a good idea, as a single vendor who has a virtual monopoly on your information is bad
We’ll see how this market develops. For now, however, it is clear that regardless of WhatsApp, there are plenty of other fish in the sea no matter how you look at it.