As they say, you can’t take a bullet back once it has been fired.
However, they have put forward a subsequent clarification to settle down the backlash, but the damage had been done.
Now the people have been divided into two groups: one that is not concerned at all and considers it just a blow into the air – while others are very committed to shifting to Signal or Telegram. You might be the one who has made the shift – or is planning to do so. But the question is, have you made sure that Telegram and Signal are worth taking the risk of leaving WhatsApp?
Let’s have a list of facts and figures that you must talk about before you actually make the switch!
There is no app anywhere that doesn’t collect your data. The only difference is that – some collect a lot of it, whereas others collect only some of it.
Data Collection by WhatsApp
Let’s talk about WhatsApp. After the new policy, it is planning to collect the device ID, usage data, advertising data, purchases, location, contact information, product diagnostics, crash data, user data, and user content. In addition to this, it will access your financial information and the rest of the preliminary details such as phone number, contact, and email.
Now let’s have a look at how Telegram and Signal are different from WhatsApp!
Data Collection by Signal
Signal, like the other apps, collects data, but that not that directly links to you. It neither links to your identity nor your location. All it accesses is your Contact information, such as your phone number!
Data Collection by Telegram
Although Telegram collects lesser information and data as does WhatsApp, it is still a lot as compared to Signal, which only suffices with your phone number. Telegram collects data directly linking to your identities, such as your name, phone number, contacts, and user ID.
Initially, the message that WhatsApp sent to all its users informed that it would be sharing data from the messaging app to Facebook. The data would include information about the battery level, IP address, browser information, phone number, mobile network, and even the internet service provider. They never mentioned the user’s chats and conversations as they are end-to-end encrypted. Hence, the people who are spreading the information as WhatsApp will be interfering in their personal chats are badly misinterpreting the message.
However, what caused more rage in the Asian, African, American, and Middle Eastern countries is the fact that the new policy does not apply to Europe. The discrimination of this scale on the part of WhatsApp has actually driven many people to switch to other messaging apps.
While at present, Facebook is not taking data from WhatsApp and vice versa, the CEO of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg, has long stated about this merger. He had put forward the idea of consolidating the back-end of the company’s all major messaging platforms – such as WhatsApp, Messenger, and Instagram.
Hence, even if they have delayed the decision, finding out their motives to merge the data is a troubling idea. Therefore, more and more people are moving away from WhatsApp, making themselves more comfortable with other messaging apps.
Is switching to Signal the right decision?
The question has been haunting a lot of use for a long time now. But the sooner we answer it, the better. Signal is an open-source, free, and secure private messaging platform. It’s similar to WhatsApp in a lot of ways – except the privacy.
Signal essentially works in the same way as WhatsApp. It has apps for both Android and iOS and works as an in-browser app on your desktop as well. It also supports sending and receiving documents, images, videos, voice notes, video and voice calls – and of course, the texts!
All conversations in Signal are end-to-end encrypted. That means that whatever you talk about with your contacts, no one (not even Signal itself) will be able to see your messages and conversations. Although WhatsApp claimed it too, it’s new policy ruined out many things.
Other significant features of Signal
Apart from the privacy concerns, there is a lot more to Signal that we should not overlook. Some of its amazing features are as follows:
- Destruction of messages after a specific interval of time as selected by the user
- Screen Security prevents the other person from taking a screenshot of your chats on Signal
- During voice or video calling, the same secret code indicates total encryption
Is Telegram a better alternative to WhatsApp than Signal?
Telegram and Signal are similar in many ways. However, Telegram may potentially bring many privacy concerns. If only privacy is the reason, Signal is a better option. However, if you want to switch to Telegram, there are a lot of great features that the app offers.
Almost all of your devices, such as Android, iOS, Web, Mac, PC, Windows phone, and even Linux, supports Telegram. Moreover, there is no limit to transferring a file on Telegram, which gives it an upper hand over both WhatsApp and Signal.
While it’s true that Telegram features end-to-end encryption, it is only applicable for “Secret Chat.” By default, there is no option for encryption. You have to open a special secret chat mode if you don’t want Telegram to access your conversation, which is pretty frustrating – particularly when we have a better alternative available in the form of Signal.
For now, WhatsApp has delayed the implementation, but the point is they haven’t given up on it. So, there is a fair chance that they present the same policy after a few months in a rather sugar-coated way. It’s better to move to other apps if privacy is your concern – if in case it isn’t, you might just continue with WhatsApp as you’ve always been!
Syed Qasim is a Digital Marketing Expert and the founder of Two Runs, a digital marketing agency. His core competencies lie in the field of internet marketing for different companies. He is a keen advocate of using the internet to its fullest. Hence, he particularly scrutinizes the services of leading ISPs in the USA, such as Spectrum Internet and others.