If Facebook is going to duke it out with Google for a monopoly on all internet services, it might was well help the average consumer once in a while. Things might actually shake out in the little guy's favor, if the House That Zuck Built has created the arrangement it thinks it has. This time, it all comes down to WhatsApp.
Despite the penetration of Facebook Messenger in American markets, WhatsApp has a beyond-massive following overseas. In fact, it's the largest messaging application in the world — in February, it boasted more than 1.5 billion users. When Facebook acquired WhatsApp in 2014, it absolutely had its eye on monetization, but no one was really sure how. This week, it rolled out a plan to do just that, by incentivizing businesses to respond to your support requests more quickly.
Video of the Day
Right now, businesses can pay a flat rate to use WhatsApp as a chat service with customers. Going forward, Facebook will actually charge businesses a fee if they don't respond to your request for support within 24 hours. At least 90 businesses are already onboard, including heavy hitters like Uber and Singapore Airlines.
That said, Facebook is definitely part of an ecosystem that wants to be the internet, not just run on it. You'll probably lose five and a half years of your life to social media, and any time you use it, you have to think about how it affects your personal brand (and your employment prospects). Sometimes the monoculture brings us nice things, but the fact of its existence isn't always so rosy.