2/25/14
Posted at 0:18h, 25 Feb 2014 in List Archive by Bonnie Halper No Comments 135 Likes Share

Good morning, All,

Facebook bought WhatsApp for $19 billion. Or $16B, depending on how you’re doing the math. Tomatoes, Tomahtoes. Peter Shankman made some good points about the deal. Everyone else chimed in as well. One of the reasons why Facebook bought the platform was because they were hemorrhaging the youth market. You know, those people who hate being tracked and advertised to. You know, those things FB likes to do.

Question: whatever happened to doing due diligence before the deal went through? FB had its reasons for the acquisition. Hope they understand WA’s audience and this just in: no sooner had the announcement been made that 1M users fled to Telegram. As well as to six (other) alternatives to WhatsApp ,now that Facebook owns it. Didn’t help that WhatsApp came under new scrutiny for its privacy policy and encryption gaffs.

It’s hard to walk away from what amounts more than the GDP of many countries, and the WhatsApp founders certainly didn’t do that. But Facebook lost the trust of its young audience, for a reason, and once the trust is gone, hard to get it back. They did keep Instagram separate, which is to their credit, but only time will tell. Facebook does have a habit of suddenly changing its policies, and damn the torpedoes. And the users. Then again, WhatsApp and Facebook might be a good fit (Whatsapp abused the DMCA to censor related projects from Github) after all.

What did get somewhat lost last week in the maddening din was Google’s announcement about its Project Tango, an Android-based prototype 5″ phone and developer kit with advanced 3D sensors. All well and good, and considering Google’s foray into robotics – including one funded by the Pentagon, no less – it all gives us reason to pause.

Tech is moving faster than ever, with stakes that are bigger than ever, and we’re not referring to the $16B/$19B. We personally don’t fall into the Luddite camp, but with all the ooohs and ahs over the possibilities, does anyone consider the consequences? We’ve seen what has happened to our privacy and the diminishing of our rights. It may not be the time to embrace every new thing that comes down the pike – and rather than to take the view from 10,000 feet, to consider the possible consequences 15 minutes into the future. We still do our best to avoid all things and products Google and are only too aware, now more than ever, that it takes two to tango. Onward and forward.