If Facebook wants to maintain its dominance over our social lives online, its acquisition of hot messenger platform WhatsApp indicates it could do so without becoming the hellish, share-everything-with-everyone company from Dave Eggers’ “The Circle.”
With WhatsApp, Facebook now offers a significant dark social product — a way for users to share content with small groups of people away from the spotlight of a public social network. While Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg used the term “open” eight times in a letter defining the company for its IPO, he’s clearly also interested in the growing market for more closed-off forms of communication — from private platforms like WeChat and Kik to very, very private platforms like Whisper and Secret.
Zuckerberg again used the term “open” in a statement about the WhatsApp acquisition but also emphasized that sharing can take many forms:
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