WhatsApp will start sharing some of the users’ data with the mother company Facebook starting May 15 which was delayed due to the user’s reaction. This has caused fear as continuing to use WhatsApp indicates accommodating lesser security for the over 2 billion users of the app.
The recent move of WhatsApp caused diaspora, as more and more users shifted to other secure alternatives. Here are 3 suggestions to choose from.
Using Signal is free, as it is part of the open-source movement. It is run by the Signal Foundation, a non-profit organization, whose mission is to participate in the development of open-source privacy technology. One of the founders, Brian Acton, puts up $50 million to start the foundation. This happened after Facebook bought WhatsApp where Brian Acton was one of the founders.
Pretty much like WhatsApp, the platform provides texting, video, voice calls and sharing of files. Signal puts weight on privacy and security of users. Embedded into the platform are some security measures like self-destruction feature. Users can set up this feature to automatically remove messages according to their preferences. Removing a few seconds after it is being read or to a week after sent without any backups on its servers.
Signal became one of the biggest beneficiaries as WhatsApp users fear for their compromised privacy and security. Brian Acton in an email to Reuter also said that Signal have seen unprecedented growth of users during these recent happenings. It became one of the most downloaded apps with 17.8 million downloads within a span of 8 days during the second week of January 2021.Around 62-fold increase from the prior week.
Pavel Durov, founder of Telegram, describes this recent happening to be the “largest digital migration in human history”. Even surpassing Signal, Telegram became a major beneficiary of this phenomenon with a 500% increase in their users. Reaching 25 million new users within 72 hours as of mid-January 2021.
Practically, what can be done in WhatsApp can also be done in Telegram so shifting to its platform will be easy. This app also uses E2E encryption where the server erases the encrypted messages once delivered. Users can also set specific time for sent messages to self-destruct.
Like the others, Viber too uses E2E encryption to protect user’s privacy. Using this app though requires updating from time to time.
This platform uses a color-coded system to alert the users accordingly. Red means that there is no E2E encryption; gray means that the chat is encrypted but unsure of the trustworthiness of the other party; while green means that the E2E encryption is working and the other party is trusted.
The app also provides Community features where messages are only SSL encrypted. This will allow users to access data transmitted to the server within the community.