With the recent update to WhatsApp’s terms and conditions, many users are now looking for an alternate Instant Messaging (IM) application to replace WhatsApp. This is primarily because billions of users around the are not appreciating the new privacy-sharing policy updated by WhatsApp, which will take effect from the 8th February 2021.
Privacy is of great value to each individual, and to businesses and organizations. Everyone wants their personal information to be shared securely. Hence, we are bringing you the 5 best alternative messaging applications that you can switch to so that your data is shielded.
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The internet was taken by storm when the WhatsApp application notified the users of the new policy. Many users didn’t bother reading the policy and clicked “Agree” anyway, but many eyebrows were raised when news hit the Internet about what WhatsApp had intended to do with their data.
Facebook purchased WhatsApp back in February 2014. Since the parent company is now Facebook, WhatsApp will start sharing the data collected through the application with Facebook. Here is a list of the information that Facebook will now be receiving through WhatsApp, even if you are not on Facebook:
- Registration information such as name, profile picture, and phone number. This includes everything used to sign up for WhatsApp services.
- In-app transaction information.
- Information on user behavior while interacting with other users and businesses.
- Device information such as its make, model, MAC address, etc. This includes mobile phones and any other devices you use your WhatsApp on.
- Your IP address.
However, many that use WhatsApp already have accounts on Facebook with their personal information on them. However, people are not accepting that the information is transferred from one company to another. Hence, many are shifting to other IM applications that do not exploit their private data.
This is also the primary reason why China has blocked WhatsApp and is no longer usable within the country. The Chinese government wants control over the general population, and limiting their access to WhatsApp gives them that power by cutting them off from putting their personal data on the Internet. Hence, WhatsApp has been blocked by China’s firewall for several years now.
5 secure WhatsApp alternatives
Upon being asked, Elon Musk, the CEO of Tesla and SpaceX, answered his Twitter followers to “Use Signal” as a WhatsApp alternative after their “heinous” new policy. Let’s see how good Signal is when compared to other IM apps out there and what it has to offer.
Signal is also a free IM app that was created by the ex-creator of WhatsApp, making it just as secure and efficient. It is one of the best WhatsApp alternatives around. On top of that, they do not share the user information with anyone else. However, a few hours after Elon’s statement, the Signal app’s registration servers crashed as they were not anticipating so many users altogether.
Nonetheless, they are up and running again as usual. Let us dig in further to understand why Signal is our top pick.
The application sends messages that are end-to-end encrypted. This means, like WhatsApp, no third person in the middle, nor the company itself can read the messages. Signal released their encryption code so that the public can test their security and understand just how secure their app is. It also asks you to create a 4-digit (or alphanumeric) Personal Identification Number (PIN), which is only optional on WhatsApp.
The app also allows users to use it as their default messaging (SMS) app, replacing the legacy Android/IOS messenger. However, other users already using the app can receive your texts and calls directly over the Internet without any additional charges.
The Signal app is supported on Android, iOS, MacOS, Windows, and Linux.
Telegram is an excellent WhatsApp alternative. In fact, the company claims to be more secure in terms of communication because they are using the MTProto protocol. Not only that, upon using Telegram, the interface seems very much like WhatsApp. You can also send audio recordings and have similar audio/ video calls as that of WhatsApp.
Telegram uses cloud-based servers all across the globe, which they claim is a faster service than any other IM service out there. This in turn means that messages can be synchronized faster on all our devices.
Telegram Messenger is currently supported on Android, iOS, Windows phone and desktop, MacOS, and has a web version.
Kaizala is a Microsoft product designed for instant mobile communication. Kaizala is an application that allows users to communicate with one another by registering their phone numbers. This, too, supports end-to-end communication encryption. The main intention of this app is to establish a communication mechanism between an organization’s employees and other partners, such as vendors and clients, etc.
Upon launching the application, the layout seems much like Microsoft teams. You can create groups or chat with individuals simultaneously. You can also join public groups nearby if you allow the app to use your location.
Much like WhatsApp, the app allows you to send and share media over the internet, such as images, audio, etc. Not only that, but you can also create polls, send a photo with a tagged location, or schedule a meeting in a group. It has lots to offer.
The downside to this application is that it only supports Android and iOS at the moment.
Viber is another Instant Messaging app that you can use to replace WhatsApp. It provides the same functionality as WhatsApp such as texting, audio, and video calling, and sharing other data such as documents and gifs. However, from personal experience, the services of the app are not the same as WhatsApp, as there is still room for improvement.
Nonetheless, Viber also gives you the option to pay for a monthly subscription in return for an alternate phone number that could be from Canada, the UK, or the US. It is for the people willing to show as if they were locals in that particular country. You can also make international calls on actual numbers by entering a payment method.
Much like Skype and Facebook messenger, Viber also displays your online activity as available or Unavailable. Of course, this feature can be turned off through the settings.
However, the downside of this application is the in-app advertisement. It is currently supported on Android, iOS, MacOS, and Windows.
Kik is a messaging app somewhat different from the rest. It is not based on your phone number, but only your email address and your username. The app does not store any of your data and all of it is stored locally on your device. Hence, in terms of privacy, you are the one in control. However, the app has been under fire for some time now because of its versatile use over the years. However, it all depends on how you use it.
You can even talk to complete strangers where the app connects you to random people from all over the world, and also join public groups.
The app also uses advertisements to fund itself. It is currently available on Android and iOS only.
WhatsApp has been used around for several years and has made it easier for friends and families in different countries to communicate with one another as if they were never that far away in the first place.
However, many are not comfortable with the policy change. In the past, users had the option of whether they would like to share it or not. That is no longer the case. There is now a “take it or leave it” option where you are only allowed to use the app once you agree to the new terms.
Will you still be using WhatsApp or will you be switching to a different app? If so, which one?
WOW! Turkey has already started an antitrust investigation against WhatsApp. Hopefully other European nations will do the same.