This is what Facebook introduced in WhatsApp to get us hooked

The historic fall of all Facebook services has had a special impact in countries where WhatsApp is very popular, such as Spain. Some perhaps reflected during the blackout on the importance that WhatsApp has ended up having in their lives. A limbo that millions of people experienced and that surely led more than one to think this: how have we come to depend so much on a courier service?

WhatsApp took its first steps in 2009 without even allowing you to send messages. Well, it only reported whether or not someone was connected. The text messages and photos came later. Back then the reigning application was BlackBerry Messenger. But the Canadian company made the mistake of not making versions of this software for other phones.

BlackBerry Messenger


WhatsApp began to evolve and could be used in the BlackBerry, in the primitive iPhones, and finally appeared for Android in 2010. Its expansion by all kinds of operating systems, including the primitive Nokia with Symbian system, was the great success of its creators. WhatsApp began to be tremendously popular for a simple reason: it only cost a dollar a year in its beginnings and it allowed us not to have to pay for each message we sent. Yes, during that time SMS was still popular and sending one was not cheap.

Things started to go wrong precisely with the Facebook acquisition in 2014. Shortly after the purchase, Facebook’s footprint began to become apparent. The goal of Mark Zuckerberg’s company was not to make a mere communication tool available to users, the goal was for them to spend as much time as possible using WhatsApp. Once this is achieved, ways will be sought to achieve benefits.

WhatsApp is available on different mobile platforms and operating systems such as iOS, Windows, Blackberry, Android and Symbian

WhatsApp was available on different mobile platforms and operating systems such as iOS, Windows, Blackberry, Android and Symbian


The first sign of panic came with a highly controversial innovation: the double check. The two blue icons that indicate that a message has been read. Seeing these two blue icons initiates an unconscious countdown process in which the sender of the message waits for a response from the receiver. If this takes too long, sometimes a certain nervousness can invade us

The importance of the double check remains enormous even though this function can be disabled. In fact, many do. But that has created two great tribes on WhatsApp: those who leave double check activated and those who deactivate them. The latter may be perceived by the former with a suspicion, as people who seem to want to hide something.

WhatsApp, Signal and Telegram are disputed by users of messaging applications.

WhatsApp, Signal and Telegram are disputed by users of messaging applications.

Ramon Peco

While many of those who disable double check see those who have it enabled as naïve who do not value their privacy. But the famous stripes can also indicate whether or not a message has been received, whether it has been read or not. This allows us to deduce whether or not the receiver has the telephone active. This does not escape neither the supporters nor the detractors of the double check.

Probably the biggest obstacle that a person fed up with WhatsApp can have to abandon it is not that this is the most universal messaging application. Well, as important as it is, there would be other options to communicate. The problem is the groups. Leaving a family group, work or friends friends can even cause work or personal conflicts.

Leaving a family or work group can even cause conflict

In fact, there are companies in which the use of WhatsApp can practically be mandatory, at least unofficially, because it has become the main communication channel. In addition, the groups have control mechanisms such as knowing who has read the messages that we have published.

One possibility to avoid isolating ourselves a bit from the torrent of messages is to use two telephone numbers in the same terminal. WhatsApp can only be operational in one of them. If that is not the phone that most of our contacts know, we can more easily ignore many of the messages that arrive through WhatsApp. Although it is possible to archive groups and users. That way notifications stop reaching us, although we can continue reading and sending messages.

There are applications that allow you to know if a person connects and Facebook does not stop them

Other mechanisms that lead us to use WhatsApp more and more, and sometimes in a somewhat unhealthy way, is that the application always indicates when we are active. And we can’t do anything to disable that. In fact, there are applications designed only to notify us when someone is active. WhatsApp has not stopped these types of applications. Something that wouldn’t be too difficult with an update.

It is true that we can deactivate showing the time that indicates the last time we connected. In fact, it is somewhat aberrant that this option is activated, since it allows us to deduce things such as the time we get up or go to bed if we usually check WhatsApp. Another tool to get hooked are the states, widely used by some.

Perhaps worst of all is that most alternatives to WhatsApp, such as Telegram, have copied many of the features that encourage bad habits sown by WhatsApp. So they have ended up becoming systems that promote certain stress. Especially because they encourage you to frequently look at the phone screen. A case of manual on how the evolution of a service has ended up causing more concern than anything else.


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