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What's up with WhatsApp?

WHATSAPP SIGNAL TELEGRAM | MENRUS.CO.UKEver since WhatsApp announced an update to its privacy policy in January 2021 millions have moved to rivals Signal and Telegram.

What's up with WhatsApp? | Podcast | The Guardian | 29 Jan 2021 | 20m 42s

The privacy update relates specifically to features that allow users to message and interact with businesses. However, Facebook doesn't have a terrific track record when it comes to privacy. Some say it's the thin end of yet another privacy wedge and its difficult to ignore the fact that WhatsApp founder Jan Koum left Facebook over privacy and encryption disagreements.

Though WhatsApp has delayed the update1 that has caused both confusion and anger among users, it will be interesting to see whether this brouhaha signals a more substantial shift away from WhatsApp. .. and Facebook, for that matter.

A nerve has been struck hard and even if Facebook is completely 'innocent'  the optics, as they say, are pretty awful. Facebook has a mountain to climb, perhaps several, if it's to regain the trust of its users ...  something in short supply when it comes to big data tech giants and privacy.

So, which messaging app best protects your privacy? Do you care? Does it matter?

1 From 8 Feb to 15 May 2021

Signal

  • Does not collect data, only your phone number
  • Free, no ads, funded by nonprofit Signal Foundation
  • Fully open-source

Signal | Signal
Signal | Wikipedia

Telegram

  • Data linked to you: Name, phone number, contacts, user ID
  • Free, forthcoming Ad Platform and premium features, funded mainly by founder
  • Only partially open-source

Telegram | Telegram
Telegram | Wikipedia

WhatsApp

  • Data linked to you: Too much to list (see below)
  • Free; business versions available for free, funded by Facebook
  • Not open-source, except for encryption

WhatsApp | WhatsApp
WhatsApp | Wikipedia

Other apps to consider

Discord | Discord
Discord | Wikipedia

Viber | Viber
Viber | Wikipedia

Snapchat | Snapchat
Snapchat | Wikipedia

KakaoTalk | KakaoTalk
KakaoTalk | Wikipedia

Keybase | Keybase
Keybase | Wikipedia 

Signal vs. WhatsApp vs. Telegram: Major security differences between messaging apps | Cnet | 29 Jan 2021
Fleeing WhatsApp for Better Privacy? Don't Turn to Telegram | Wired | 27 Jan 2021
Is it time to leave WhatsApp – and is Signal the answer? | The Guardian | 24 Jan 2021
WhatsApp changes: Signal messaging platform restored after surge prompts outage | BBC News | 17 Jan 2021

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