With more than two billion users, WhatsApp is indeed the world’s most favorite messaging app. It keeps adding more features and introducing new updates on the regular to help improve user experience. But, some users want more: they want privacy and security. While WhatsApp advertises their data as being end to end encrypted, there are many loopholes.
The app was first acquired by Facebook in 2014, something that left both security-conscious users and privacy experts concerned. This is because Facebook, together with its 3rd party apps, has been accused of multiple security breaches that have resulted in thousands of users’ information being leaked. Second, Facebook recently announced that they plan on merging their three separate apps: WhatsApp, Facebook, and Instagram. That means sharing user information across the three platforms, which in turn makes WhatsApp less secure despite having end to end encryption.
For the privacy-conscious users looking for WhatsApp alternatives, we understand your frustrations. Here are some of the best messaging apps that still care about your privacy.
Telegram is the best replacement for WhatsApp. It is end to end encrypted and comes with lots of extra features. And, with its open API, this app is more trusted by users than WhatsApp. The best part is that it has a straightforward user interface, so new users will have an easy time setting it up.
Telegram has its messages and calls end-to-end encrypted and also allows you to send self-destructive messages. Compared to WhatsApp, which enables you to set up a group of about 256 participants and share files of up to 100 MBs, Telegram allows you to create a group of 200, 000 users and exchange files of up to 2GBs in one single go.
This messenger app was developed by the same people responsible for developing the WhatsApp end-to-end encryption. Unlike WhatsApp, Signal has an open-source system that makes it safer. What’s more, Signal has other security features such as self-destructive messages and screen security that prevents you from taking a screenshot when it’s activated.
Signal not only encrypts your text messages but your calls and media files as well. Nobody can access your messages or hear your calls.
This Japan-based messaging app offers almost everything that is available on WhatsApp, and even includes other features that are lacking on WhatsApp. Viber encrypts all your messages, calls, and shared media.
The app allows you to create groups of up to 250 users each and have group video calls with a maximum of 20 users.
Other Ways to Maintain Your Privacy Online
While a secured messaging app may help ensure that your messages are read by the intended person only; that alone may not protect you from hackers and government surveillance. You need to secure your device more to ensure total protection. So, ensure you practice mobile security and use a more secure browser such as Tor. A simple VPN download will also come in handy to make sure no one eavesdrops on your communications, including app owners, the government, and hackers.
While it’s true that WhatsApp is currently the most popular messaging app, there are other alternatives that will give you the same experience or even better, especially if you are a privacy-conscious user. Use the above apps and engage in acceptable mobile security practices to stay safe and private online.