Whether it happens on purpose or by accident, user domestication almost always follows the same three steps:
- A high level of dependence given from users to a software vendor
- An inability for users to control their software, through at least one of the following methods:
- Preventing modification of the software
- Preventing migration onto a different platform
- The exploitation of now-captive users who are unable to resist
The completion of the first two steps left WhatsApp users vulnerable to user domestication. With investors to answer to, they had every incentive to implement user-hostile features without consequence.
So, of course, they did.
Jessica Smith is a left-wing feminist who loves animals, books, gaming, and cooking; she’s also very interested in linguistics, history, technology and society.