WhatsApp, Instagram and Facebook Messenger Are Merging: What Does It Mean?
In January, it was announced that Mark Zuckerberg was planning on merging WhatsApp, Instagram and Facebook Messanger. The three will still be standalone apps, the technological infrastructure will all be the same. While Zuckerberg owns all three apps, what would this look like if others went the same way?
Think about it - say you bank at Royal Bank of Canada, what if they merged together with CIBC, TD and BMO. There is no longer the upper edge, or ability to shop around for the consumer. This gives the head company of the merger to hold all the power. What is to then stop them from buying Amazon or Apple, and merging there as well.
When you get deep into the rabbit hole, you can see a dystopian world where all consumer outlets are owned by one large conglomerate. The consumer has no choice in their products, prices are fixed and one company can monopolize. To me, that shows me a dark world where there is no consumer freedom or privacy.
This can be seen with media outlets as well. Media companies are struggling to stay afloat, so they are merging to save jobs, or lay off staff, in order to stay running. This makes sense from a business point of view to ensure that papers and news outlets stay alive. However, when there is no competition in the media, we get one view. There are limited opinions and limited chances for freedom of expression. For example, Vancouver is Awesome were taken in by Glacier Media. Another example is the Vancouver Sun and The Province papers merged their offices in a merger.
In our world of democracy, you need competition. Without it, who holds these companies to standards. What happens to the best practices and moral ethics that go along with running a business.
In today’s economy, we will continue to see companies merge and more monopolizing of consumer businesses happening. There are laws in place to ensure the dystopian world I spoke of earlier doesn’t occur, however, businesses and people like Mark Zuckerberg will continue to have more power in the market and control of our information and conversations.