WhatsApp’s latest privacy policy update has created ripples across the globe. #whatsappprivacy has been trending on twitter since last few days and tons of data privacy and security questions are being thrown at it. People are being more concerned about their data being misused and hence, are looking for whatsapp alternatives. They say that Telegram and Signal are considered as the best WhatsApp alternatives (given the security features). So, are we supposed to switch? 

Rather than directly jumping onto a decision, we suggest you to go through this article – Whatsapp vs. Signal vs. Telegram, where we have compared the distinct features of each. Also, you’ll get the answers of some of the most asked questions. All of these will help you know the facts and take an informed decision.


A. Whatsapp

Features

  • User count – 2 billion active users
  • Group video call of 8 users at a time
  • Group chat with maximum 256 members
  • Status feature
  • Allows sharing of all sorts of files and documents (upto 100MB) and photos, videos and audio files (upto 16MB) 
  • Allows sharing of live location
  • Backup and restore messages and data via cloud services like Google Drive and iCloud
  • Uses end to end encryption (E2E) for communication: messages, video calls, voice calls, photos and anything

Security – End-to-end encryption is available on WhatsApp on every single mode of communication it enables. This means that you and the recipient are the only two people who can access the message, calls, photos, etc. WhatsApp cannot decrypt them. So, it seems like WhatsApp is doing a good job, no? 

Where does the problem lie? 

When businesses use WhatsApp to reach out to their consumers, they make use of third-party tools. At this point in time, WhatsApp can share your data with such third-party business tool. Yes, WhatsApp collects your data and can share it with the third party as well. 

What does the collected data consist of? 

Device ID

User ID

Advertising Data

Purchase History

Coarse Location

Phone Number

Email Address

Contacts

Product Interaction

Crash Data

Performance Data

Other Diagnostic Data

Payment Info

Customer Support

Product Interaction

Other User Content

WhatsApp uses this data for the purpose of advertising, which is not a problem. The problem is that this data can be attacked upon by hackers and your sensitive data can be misused. Yes, THIS is the major problem and this is making people look for Whatsapp alternatives. 


B. Signal 

Features:

  • User count – 20 million active users
  • Supports self-destructing messages (messages will get deleted after a point of time) 
  • Self-note feature (allows sharing of your own thoughts and ideas without creating single member groups
  • Allows relay voice calls to its servers, identity is not shared, same as using a VPN
  • Uses back-end user-facing encryption service
  • Encrypts your metadata offering multiple levels of security

Security – As far as security is concerned, Signal provides the best service to its consumers. It uses the open-source Signal Protocol to implement end-to-end encryption, which covers all forms of communication on the app. Further, Signal encrypts the metadata too. The app consists of a feature known as ‘sealed sender’, where no one will come to know (not even Signal) who is messaging whom. It collects none of your data but your phone number.


C. Telegram

Features:

  • User count – 400 million active users
  • Offers support to groups with up to 2,00,000 members
  • Offers multiple group specific features such as bots, polls, quizzes and hashtags
  • Self-destructive messages (messages will get deleted after a point of time) 
  • Allows file sharing (of 1.5GB limit) 
  • Supports voice and video call
  • Supports E2E secret chats features 
  • Shares 0 bytes of data with third-parties or any governments till date

Security – Telegram does support end-to-end encryption, but this is not enabled by default. One needs to use it’s ‘secret chat’ features in order to ensure that conversations are end-to-end encrypted. This feature is not enabled by default and hence, it saves your conversation over their local cloud in an encrypted format and could read it also (if the secret chats feature isn’t enabled). 

Further, the data collected by telegram includes:

  • Contact Info
  • Contacts
  • User ID

Which application is the best? 

In terms of security and privacy, Signal is the best application. It offers you the privacy you need and collects no data. But in terms of other features, WhatsApp works better than Signal. 

So, if privacy is on your top priority, go for Signal. If not, you are free to use Telegram or Whatsapp. But, since WhatsApp is looking dicey right now, we suggest you to be careful. Look that you limit the app permission, avoid leaving sensitive data on the app and try and stop relying too much on a single app. 

That was it. Hope you find the article helpful. If so, do share it with your mates. What’s your take on this latest #whatsappprivacy trend? Do let us know through the comment section below!