Software as Betrayal of Service

Chuck Jordan, discussing deleting his Instagram account:

But Instagram’s decision to shove suggested posts into my feed was the culmination of around 15 years of tech companies working to develop a new business model: software as betrayal of service. The model disrupts the traditional contract between a business and its customers with a simple four-step process:

1. Promise a straightforward and inessential-but-still-fun service (e.g,. a platform for sharing snapshots with a group of people of your choosing)

2. Attract enough users with this service to achieve either an IPO or acquisition by a larger tech company

3. Profit

4. Gradually dismantle everything that attracted users to the platform in the first place

This is applicable to so many sites and services from the last couple of decades.

It’s not just algorithms to blame. It’s the conscious decisions made by those in charge to screw with the users.

Because step 3 of that process above then becomes the overriding goal. Anything that increases profits is pursued, and to hell with the consequences.

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