~/Simon's Blog ❯

WhatsApp is becoming out of touch.

I stopped using WhatsApp in 2019 due to privacy concerns with Meta, or back then Facebook Inc. However, since then WhatsApp has slowly become out of touch with most of their userbase's opinions, instead making many changes which either nobody asked for, or that are actively harming their users.

There is out-of-touch feature additions like Communities or a clone of Telegram's "Channels" feature, but neither of these are really used by a majority of their userbase. Same goes for their privacy policy changes which happened - if I recall correctly - in 2021, which caused many users to leave the platform as they realised the privacy implications of WhatsApp.

Well, that is easy enough to explain, but that leaves a question open: Why is WhatApp so out of touch with their userbase?

This could have many reasons, but here is my (honestly not very unique) take: WhatsApp has long stopped caring about it's individual users in terms of feature additions. What they're looking for is to satisfy business customers. Customers like Malls which create WhatsApp Business accounts or Channels to broadcast their discount magazines or which use it to otherwise advertise. That's the important part, to be clear, advertisement. Meta has always been an advertisement company at it's heart, or a so-called "Ad-Tech Company". The only reason Meta used their budget to buy applications like WhatsApp, Instagram and more is to expand their advertising business and profit from the users of their service. And with End-to-End-Encryption being weaker on WhatsApp than on some other solutions (like Signal) in terms of what data is encrypted, it is no wonder that WhatsApp responds to subpoenas on user-data almost immediately.

In essence, for a long time now they haven't actually cared about the privacy or security of their users as well as their needs and wishes in a messaging application. Even Telegram - which is often criticised by it's userbase for adding unneeded features - manages to listen to their userbase when it comes to their featureset. It is laughable that a service of this size, arguably the biggest there is, would be so out-of-touch with their userbase, their user's needs and the need for deep-reaching privacy in the digital space.

If I had to take a guess, I would say that WhatsApp will probably continue making these poor decisions, and that this is only the beginning of what is essentially enshittification on their part.

Thanks for reading! I wish you a good rest of the day, evening, night, or whatever other time you're reading this!

#messaging #privacy #security #whatsapp