With WhatsApp Mandating Its Users to Share Their Data With Facebook, What Other Instant Messaging Apps Can You Use?

By February 8, 2021, social media giant Facebook-owned WhatsApp will require its users to agree to its new terms of service and privacy policy, updated last January 4 – otherwise, the user will not be able to access their account.

The changes will allow the instant messaging app to collect various information and metadata of the user, such as registration information, phone number, transaction data, service-related information, as well as data on how you interact with others, mobile device information, IP address and other information identified in the Privacy Policy section.

After the update, WhatsApp will be able to share such user data with other Facebook companies and affiliates. These include Facebook (mobile app and in-app browser), Messenger, Instagram (including Boomerang), Portal-branded devices, Oculus Products (when using a Facebook account), Facebook Shops, Spark AR Studio, Audience Network, NPE Team apps and any other features, apps, technologies, software, products, or services offered by Facebook Inc.

According to a statement, WhatsApp said the update would help users for further “personalisation and integration” across Facebook products.

“While most people use WhatsApp to chat with friends and family, increasingly people are reaching out to businesses as well. To further increase transparency, we updated the privacy policy to describe that going forward, businesses can choose to receive secure hosting services from our parent company Facebook to help manage their communications with their customers on WhatsApp,” they added.

With various concerns and issues regarding data privacy with Facebook, untrusting users may opt-out and turn to other alternatives that collect and monitor fewer data from its users. As such, CSA researched what other instant messaging apps you can use, some of which have seen a surge in the number of new users since the WhatsApp announcement.

  1. Telegram: This messaging app is popular among users who are greatly concerned about their privacy. Telegram offers several layers of protection for their users’ messaging security. In Telegram’s cloud chats, all data is stored heavily encrypted (to prevent access by local Telegram engineers or physical intruders) and the encryption keys are stored in data centres in different jurisdictions. In addition, its secret chat feature uses end-to-end encryption, which means all data is encrypted with a key that only the sender and the recipient know. Telegram “only” shares your data with its parent company Telegram Group Inc. “to help provide, improve and support their Services”.

  2. Discord: You would probably not expect this app to enter this list, but Discord also proves to be a reliable messaging app even outside the gaming community. Aside from Discord’s many different communities and servers, you can also utilise its DM feature to make voice calls, video calls, text and even share your screen with another user (or a group). Discord offers you the ability to restrict the processing of your data for specific uses, which you can find in the “Settings” page of its services.

  3. Kik: Another messaging app that is gaining popularity, Kik also features additional privacy and security offering within their platform. For users who are not keen on sharing their personal contact number, which other messaging apps require, Kik will only ask for your email address to register.

  4. Signal: A relatively new player in this field, Signal features encrypted messaging across all the messages within their platform. This provides additional security to your messages, whether they are direct or group. Signal does not store your messages within a cloud or its own data centre (all your data is stored on your device). However, this means that if you lose or damage your device, your data is lost forever. As a non-profit organisation, Signal is totally free. It does not share or sell your data or monetise it, and it does not even have advertisements within the app.

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