Matthew Green
@matthew_d_green

So just one thought on @alexstamos’s tweets here: how much does it really cost to operate an e2e encrypted messenger? twitter.com/alexstamos/sta…

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I don’t know what Moxie spends on Signal, but I can’t imagine that it adds up to that much on a per-user basis. Probably most of the server budget goes to pay for text messaging fees.

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So forgive me for being a naive idiot, and I realize Facebook spent something like the GDP of Paraguay to buy WhatsApp. But the idea that the only possible way to monetize e2e chat is to break the encryption and scan for keywords seems like a stretch.

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And WhatsApp didn’t grow to be a billion+ user system because Facebook marketed it. It was purchased by Facebook because a couple of scrappy upstarts managed to acquire Facebook scale — and start pulling eyeballs from FB properties.

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Anyway, my point is that Facebook already has tons of user data from its other properties, much of which is getting linked to WhatsApp accounts. Use that data to display ads. Let people opt out for a payment.

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Anyway, I realize this isn’t going to bring in the kind of revenue that FB shareholders (excepting myself!) want. But that’s not my point.

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My point is that e2e applications (even at 1bn-user scale) are alarmingly cheap to build. The threat to those apps is not that they’re *expensive*. It’s that the minute one gets successful, a giant like Facebook seeks it out and buries it in cash and a broken business model.

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And for the record, while it may seem that I’m arguing with @alexstamos, I am not! Alex has always been a key advocate for e2e and I see his concerns as genuine. I’m much more worried about a Facebook without him.

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