Work in Progress: The Future of (My) Web (Part 2, Leaving WhatsApp)

Jan 27, 2016 · By Darren Mothersele

web-dev

I’ve deleted WhatsApp. I wasn’t going to post about this, as I don’t want to sound like a broken record. But, as several people have emailed me asking why, I thought I would explain my decision.

I have posted about this before when I left Facebook. I’m not just ranting about data surveillance and privacy concerns. I have other concerns about our relationship with technology. There are certain ideas that are in danger of becoming locked in unless we come up with alternatives. My attitude is solution focused.

So WhatsWrong with WhatsApp?

It’s free.

They annouced recently that they are removing the subscription and making the service free. There is now no doubt what the real business model is. You are not their customer, you are their product.

No API

Brian Acton, WhatsApp cofounder, has publicly stated that there will never be an API. Interoperability is never going to be an option with Whatsapp.

Compare with email: You use gmail, someone else uses hotmail, and I have my own email software I built myself. We can all freely email each other.

We’re on different mobile networks, but we can still freely send each other SMS messages.

This will never be the case with WhatsApp. If you’re not on WhatsApp you don’t exist. WhatsApp is a monoculture silo.

I want to be part of building an independent, open future. The involves removing myself from networks that don’t support open standards, interoperability, and diversity.

By the principle of “selfdogfooding”, removing myself gives me the motiviation I need to build and contribute to an alternative Indie Web

“The IndieWeb is a people-focused alternative to the ‘corporate web’.”

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Darren Mothersele

Darren is a software developer who builds simple, creative, and independent technology. Read more »