As the old saying goes: What happens in Messaging stays in Messaging.
This is something I didn’t expect. A post earlier this month on TNW by Kaylene Hong reported on Tencent shutting down 20 million accounts:
Tencent revealed today that it has shut down a whopping 20 million accounts on its WeChat messaging app, as they were linked with providing prostitution services. It has also closed 30,000 public fake accounts.
That is a staggering amount of ~5% of its monthly active users. In a world where the race to the top of the messaging pile is on, that is a huge loss.
While this is China, and we can’t really know if these accounts were related to prostitution services – or just to things the Chinese government didn’t favor – it does bring with it some interesting food for thought: up until now, the closest behavior I was aware of was sexting.
Each technology being introduced can be used for good or bad. I’ve recommended a science fiction book on the adoption of technology, which is appropriate here as well.
This brings me to the ephemeral and private messaging services that are rolling out on a daily basis. Here are a few that comes to mind:
- Snapchat, the teenage’s sexting tool of choice (and the acquirer of AddLive)
- Telegram, a messaging service that came to our attention when Whatsapp got acquired by Facebook. They offer encryption and the ability to delete messages. They took a step further to publicize the protocol they use, which is an interesting step. Not a big player, but an interesting one
- FireChat, which can communicate without any direct internet connection from your device; targeted at those looking for privacy from their government
- Secret, enabling us to share our secrets anonymously
All of these services are aimed to restore our “lost” privacy from the ongoing Snowden revelation. Each taking a different approach to it. And all can be extremely powerful tools, but can also be abused.
Is this just a trend or are these services showing the way to the future of messaging?