Whatsapp: what’s the alternatives?

This week, Whatsapp users have been informed that a new update will be coming on February 8th. The update will change the privacy policy, meaning that users will have to agree to share their data with Facebook in order to keep using the messaging app. 

Even though Whatsapp has been sharing data with Facebook for years, this new development has made many re-evaluate the importance of privacy, and question whether it is time to ditch Whatsapp in favour of more secure services. 

In light of this, we have looked into the popular messaging apps that are making their way up the download charts, to understand why people are making the move. 

Signal 

Data shows that Signal downloads have skyrocketed from 246,000 times in the week pre announcement to 8.8 million times worldwide in the week following. This Wired article outlines why Signal is superior to other messaging apps, stating that alongside being free, having no ads and working on every mobile platform, every single message and call is encrypted. 

Telegram 

Telegram is another messenger option. However, it is unable to offer the same levels of privacy that has seen Signal’s huge rise in popularity, with Vice suggesting it is less secure than it appears. CNET claims that whilst it doesn’t collect as much data as Whatsapp, it also doesn’t offer encrypted group calls, whilst Whatsapp does, or offer the same user-data privacy and company transparency that Signal does.  

Despite these messaging options providing greater security. This article from Forbes looks at why it is essential to make sure you are checking your settings for optimum security.

Finally, for further insights check out this talk from CogX 2019, which reminds us of the difficulties around empowering the individual to understand and exercise their data rights.

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