The last changes to WhatsApp are HUGE

It’s hard to understate them. Really.

Yesterday, WhatsApp announced two new “privacy features”.

Right away, professor K. Alaimo explained on CNN, with plenty of detail, how the latest additions to WhatsApp work, and why they are good. But what are they?

What are those new privacy features in WhatsApp?

Sit down, because they are so big, so way-beyond-Star-Trek-level improvements that even merely reading about them could give you serious giddiness, really. You have been warned.

Starting in Year of Our Lord 2022, WhatsApp will “allow users to leave group chats without sending notifications to all members – and to control who sees when they are active on the app”

Yes, you got that right. Discrete unsubscription from “discussion groups”, and no unvoluntary disclosure of one’s online availability. WhatsApp just added two features so futuristic and sophisticated that even 53-years old technology like email had them since its birth. If you aren’t crying in awe and disbelief, you really should.

WhatsApp latest improvements, in my own words

The last changes to WhatsApp are HUGE /img/stress-da-whatsapp.jpg

Strictly speaking, everything Prof. Alaimo wrote is 100% right. Still, here is how I would have announced the same news, and the only way I think they are worth commenting:

  1. Since its birth, WhatsApp was and remains a technically dumb and castrated idea (phone numbers??? Zero interoperability???) that also is terribly unpolite to use
  2. The backwardness of WhatsApp is only matched by the pathetic consistency with which they call “improvement” every step (e.g. THIS, in 2021) of their chase of really advanced technology
  3. It is unbelievable how many people, academics included, continue with a straight face to call anything like WhatsApp “technology”

New privacy features my foot

Don’t get fooled. WhatsApp remains a metadata-collection machine by Meta, that desperately tries to remain relevant, before its limitations become evident to too many people. Including people who never got the chance to enjoy REAL email, before and beyond Gmail. We do need Instant Messaging in addition to asynchronous communication like email. But it must be nothing with the same mutilations and disease-spreading design of WhatsApp, that is nothing plagued by, e.g.: zero interoperability, zero device-independency, using phone numbers as accounts, and “anxiety-first” notifications active by default, or present in the first place.