Popular messaging app owned by Facebook changed terms of service. In this move the users are debating about their privacy which is making them have interest at stake.
In the UAE it has stirred mixed mentality whether to accept or opt for other social media apps.
When Facebook acquired WhatsApp at 19b dollars they promised to keep user data privacy and they won’t make any changes. Now the service will share data with the parent company including location data, battery level, IMEI number, mobile network, and even more.
Not only this, the app will share information to the parent company Facebook about the groups you are participating in, real-time status, profile photo or even the data about your online status on the app. If that wasn’t enough, WhatsApp has a separate section in the new policy by the name “Transactions and Payments data.” If you’ve already assumed, then let us tell you for the sake of it – the information of your payments made through the app will also be stored. Facebook claims to use this just for analysis purpose and let’s hope it stay that way – in the worst-case scenario.
While as the unassuming user you might think that has no repercussions but experts know there’s a lot to lose in the long run as your personal data is now exposed to even more possibilities of exploitation even though Facebook would not inherently want to do that, but in the online space things aren’t as simple as they seem.
Alternatives that’ll serve you better
|Signal private messenger||Signal Foundation, the organization that powers the end-to-end encryption technology in WhatsApp Messenger and Facebook Messenger, offers its very own messaging app dubbed Signal Private Messenger. As you’d expect, Signal brings a number of security benefits when compared to WhatsApp. It offers self-destructing messages, screen security (prevents anyone from taking screenshots), and more. Plus, Signal brings encryption to its backups, calls, group calls, and every other data in the app. Even the files that you send using Signal are protected. Furthermore, according to Apple’s App Store listing, Signal doesn’t link any data to your identity.|
|Telegram||Telegram Messenger has been known as the best WhatsApp competitor for a while now and nothing’s changed. The open-source messaging app is still the best WhatsApp alternative out there. Along with the usual messaging features that both WhatsApp and Telegram pack, the latter brings other features like super groups of up to 100,000 people, public channels, usernames, ability to share files of up to 1.5 GB, pass code lock, self-destructing messages and end-to-end encryption in secret chat among other things.|
Then, there are Telegram Bots, which really enhance the experience. The bots not only bring you important info on the go but there are several game bots that let you play games inside the messaging app. Other than that, unlike WhatsApp, Telegram can be used on multiple platforms at once, so you can start texting on your phone and then continue it on your PC. I also love the voice call feature here which works quite well.
That said, Telegram lacks video calling feature.
|Threema||Threema is a “seriously secure” messaging app, which should interest you if you are concerned about your security on WhatsApp. The app encrypts all the data, including messages, shared files, and even status updates. While it lacks WhatsApp features like voice & video calling, its security features are certainly impressive.|
|Bonus LINE||Another WhatsApp alternative you can use is LINE, which is a highly popular cross-platform messaging app that packs in a ton of features. Like WhatsApp, the app features end-to-end encryption, support for voice and video calls & messages and more.|
It also brings quite a few unique features when compared to WhatsApp like LINE Out (lets you make international calls to non-LINE users), sticker store, a cool Keep feature (lets you save your favorite messages, photos etc.), and more. It also features a timeline in the app, where you can see any status updates and photo changes from your friends.
|Skype||Skype is without a doubt one of the best business chat applications of the market. With the power of Microsoft behind it, Skype has left all the other business chat applications in the dust. However, that progress has worked against Skype when it comes to personal chats as the business moniker that it has earned keeps normal users away. But let me tell you that Skype is one of the best chatting applications on the market especially if you make a lot of video and voice calls.|
|viber||Viber is another popular messaging and VoIP app that really stands toe-to-toe with WhatsApp when it comes to features. Firstly, the app offers end-to-end encryption in calls, messages and the shared media. Moreover, the messages saved in multiple devices are also encrypted, which brings us to the fact that the messaging apps packs in multi-device support, which WhatsApp lacks.|
|bridgefy||One of the main problems with online messaging apps like WhatsApp is that they rely on an internet connection to work. And if you are out camping in the woods even the normal text messaging apps will not work. That’s where offline messaging apps come into play. These apps don’t require a mobile network or internet connection to work.|
Rather, they create a peer-to-peer Bluetooth mesh network or Wifi Direct-based network on your phone and allow you to send messages to your nearby friends. If you are looking for such an app then you should use Bridgefy. Bridgefy offers three main types of messaging service; Person-to-Person mode, Broadcast mode, and Mesh mode.
You can send messages to a friend, broadcast them to entire group, and even use users as nodes to send messages to long distances. It is quite helpful during music festivals, sports events, natural disasters, and other such situations where you won’t be getting reliable mobile service.
In fact, Bridgefy and other such apps have become a bastion for protesters around the world as it allows them to evade internet censorship imposed by their governments. The app is free to download and use, and the best offline WhatsApp alternative in my opinion. You should check it out.