In the interview, Elies charges Facebook and his former company accusing them of being at the service of advertisers, of innovating little and copying a lot, and of just looking for people to be hooked to their app. But is it really so rare for such a company to pursue those goals? Because if we call Facebook “scam” for that, should not we say that so are other companies like Google, Apple or almost any other big company in the sector?
The arguments of Elies against WhatsApp are not what we have heard many times against the great applications that lead the sector, something that is not surprising considering that the engineer has been involved with competition, for example With Telegram. It is true that some companies may lose track of innovation, but from there to call them scams there is a big stretch, especially with the argument of advertisers.
It’s not so rare to spoil advertisers
In the interview, Elies calls scam Facebook because, in his opinion, his goal is not to offer quality or innovation, but to create services that will engage them to the maximum. It also accuses them of being at the service of advertisers, and of using users solely to make their platform more attractive to their customers.
One thing that we need to be clear about when thinking about these arguments is that companies in the technological sector, especially those that depend on the web, have to get money from somewhere to pay their employees, and one of the biggest sources of Revenue is usually advertising. Evidently, there are and always can be limits to submitting to the advertisers, but that can not be covered if they are necessary to keep the machines running.
We put for example the case of Twitter. Jack Dorsey’s social network is having a really bad time getting by. Not only because they get attract new users, but because it is not getting to obtain sufficient profits to go ahead , and that is translating into layoffs and attempts to sell to other companies.
But otherwise, big companies always pull publicity, especially when they offer free or low-priced products. We see it every day in the Google search engine, we see it on any webpage on the network, and even on operating systems such as Windows 10, as well as in the free modalities of other services like Spotify.
In terms of creating services that will engage the user to the maximum, we can not forget that this is still one of the common objectives of any company, that its services are used. That’s why many like Alphabet or Microsoft have so many ramifications in all types of sectors, to try to obtain the maximum number of users possible. And so many software companies are also concerned with creating ecosystems with solutions for all tastes.
Campo also accused WhatsApp of having undergone such a way to Facebook that now has “the pressure to keep growing to have value” for the social network. Well, that’s what any company expects to spend a million dollars on a new project of its own or to buy another company. And this project does not work, or you forget about it as it does with Google+ or it directly closes it as we have seen do to many other companies.
In what is right is how unethical it would be to share your users’ data with Facebook. Fortunately, we told you in November that complaints in Europe about the possible breach of user privacy in doing so had forced Facebook and WhatsApp to back down. In any case, we can not lower our guard against any breach of privacy, which is a vice that also share some large companies in the sector.
Nor do you have to risk innovation
Another of the accusations against Facebook and WhatsApp is that they copy more than they innovate. Obviously, this is a big negative point for them against more innovative alternatives, there are, but if they are doing it is simply because their position is so dominant that they can afford it.
As I told you when talking about how WhatsApp would continue to dominate the mobile application industry, the messaging application no longer needs to risk experimenting with new functionality. It is enough to see what works for others and to copy it quickly to ensure that you keep up with the pace of innovation in others.
In this Facebook has demonstrated its mastery, especially seeing how during last year was implementing almost all the functions of Snapchat in its different applications. And is that in the end users of foot, those who unlike us do not care so much about who innovates with what, what is fixed is what can be done with the application they already know, and in that aspect Facebook has Succeeded in keeping up with the rest.
The consolation that we can stay with this, is that as long as Facebook does not abandon the technological innovation of its sector, there will still be room for new proposals. Obviously, if these triumph Facebook will assimilate them by buying or copying them (if you are not ahead of other companies), but there will always be the possibility that another service will be born that year after year will manage to scratch its popularity.
Therefore, we can conclude that Facebook is not an NGO. It is a private company, and like any other in our capitalist system, its goal is to keep growing exponentially for as long as it can. It does not stop being what any other company in the world does, so we can not qualify it as a scam for that.
With this article I do not want to blindly defend Facebook. But if we are going to criticize the social network for the things it really does wrong, and not because it does others that in the end are the same that can be expected from any other company in the sector.