The concern has reached such an alarming level that several Indian and multinational companies have started issuing advisories to their staff. These companies have asked their employees to avoid sharing sensitive company information on WhatsApp and stop using the messaging app for critical business calls. No wonder, the app probably never stirred such concerns before among the companies.
Now, before we start talking about the WhatsApp alternative apps Telegram and Signal, let us take a look at Facebook messenger also.
Point to note: Facebook messenger collects maximum data
Ever wondered after having a discussion about purchasing a flat, why suddenly you start seeing ads about real estate in your Facebook newsfeed? The answer lies in WhatsApp messenger.
Yes. Compared to all other chat apps available on the web world, the Facebook messenger app collects maximum data about you. There are strong allegations against the FB messenger app that it listens to your conversations and pushes advertisements accordingly to your news feed. Hence, our suggestion is to delete it from your phone. If you cannot do that due to your fan base, friends, or some other reasons, you can use it from the browser, not from the app directly.
Apart from FB messenger, Amazon Alexa too has been accused of snooping on its users.
|End-to-end encryption (E2E)||Yes||Secret chats, All calls||Yes|
|Chat backup||Yes (Google Drive, iCloud)||Yes (Telegram’s cloud)||No (Local drive)|
|Advertisement||No||No (Plans to add)||No|
|Group chat security||Yes (E2E)||No||Yes (E2E)|
|Video and voice call||Yes||Yes||Yes|
WhatsApp alternative apps:
While there are several instant messaging apps available, the two most popular and secure ones are Telegram and Signal. There are other apps as well such as Viber, Hike, etc. However, Telegram and Signal are the two most secure WhatsApp alternative apps available.
Despite being one of the WhatsApp alternative apps, several features of Telegram are similar to the FB owned instant messaging application. The users get basics like chat, group chat, and channels. Telegram can be used from the computer as well, just like WhatsApp Web. Users can make both voice and video calls on both Android and iOS platforms.
What’s more interesting about Telegram is it allows adding up to 200,000 members in groups, as compared to only 256 in WhatsApp groups. Telegram also offers group-specific features like bots, hashtags, quizzes, and a lot more. Telegram ensures when the user sets up the app on a different device, the entire chat history is retained.
Telegram collects the data including name, phone number, contacts, and user ID, according to the privacy label it has. Like Snapchat, Telegram also offers a unique feature – self-destructing messages. The app’s size limit for file sharing is an impressive 1.5 GB, which means, you can actually send a whole movie here.
Telegram is a free app for all across platforms like Android, iOS, Windows, Mac. Also, the app is ad-free. The app uses distributed infrastructure to protect the data that is not covered by end-to-end encryption. Talking about the end-to-end encryption issue, Telegram CEO Pavel Durov said that the company relies on its own distributed cross-jurisdictional encrypted cloud storage which is more protected, compared to Apple or Google.
What data WhatsApp alternative apps collect?
|Device ID||Contact information||Phone number|
|User ID||User ID|
|Other diagnostic data|
|Other user content|
The Signal is by far the best among the WhatsApp alternative apps, when it comes to security, be it considering the back-end or the user-facing side. The app uses open-source Signal Protocol to implement end-to-end encryption for its users. The E2E encryption is claimed to be covering all forms of communication on Signal, which WhatsApp also claims for its platform. While in Telegram the E2E encryption is available only for single users, not for group chats. The voice, video calls, and all communications are E2E encrypted.
Signal uses an interesting and safer method for encryption, which is called Sealed Sender. The method is a way of communication between the sender and the recipient. The app encrypts the users’ metadata too.
This means, with the Sealed Sender, even Signal will not be able to know who is messaging whom. This ensures ultimate privacy. The app encrypts all the local files with a 4-digit password. Encryption for local backup and group calls are also available on this platform.
Signal has a feature similar to the self-destructing messages of Telegram. There is another feature called ‘Note to Self’ that allows the users to write down notes while messaging with friends and family. There are also, several other features that make this platform interesting and safer than WhatsApp and even Telegram too.
The hue and cry around the latest privacy update have such a level that WhatsApp had to issue a detailed clarification, especially soon after Elon Musk, the Tesla CEO, tweeted saying “Use Signal”. This actually led to mass new registrations for the Signal app, which even caused verification code delays across several network providers.
Now, what WhatsApp may face?