WhatsApp and privacy policy: What are the best alternatives?

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WhatsApp downloads fell 11 percent in the first week of January as compared to the prior week. WhatsApp was downloaded by 10.5 million users globally between January 1-7, according to data analytics firm Sensor Tower.

2,86,000 users installed Signal through the App Store and Google Play in the first week of January, 14 percent more from the previous week.

Meanwhile, Telegram picked up 7.2 million downloads globally during the first week of 2021.

WhatsApp new privacy policy has raised security concerns as the app now asks for additional information from the users including numbers and location.

In its privacy policy, WhatsApp said it works with third-party service providers and other Facebook companies to help it operate, provide, improve, understand, customise, support and market its services.

Users have till February 8, 2021 to accept the revised terms and policy or they will not be able to use WhatsApp services. In light of these developments, Business Standard lists three WhatsApp alternative that are free to use:

Signal

Signal is developed under Signal Foundation, which is a non-profit foundation. The messaging app is touted to be the most secure messaging platform that is open source and peer reviewed. The app does not collect data, it does not link your phone number to your identity, and app’s listing page on Apple’s app store states that the app uses no data linked to you.

Signal is a cross-platform encrypted messaging service that is available for Android, iOS, and other operating systems. The messaging app offers end-to-end encryption for messages and media shared between users.

Recently, Tesla CEO Elon Musk tweeted “Use Signal” from his official handle. The tweet surfaced soon after WhatsApp announced changes in its terms of use and privacy policy. The tweet led to new users signing up for the platform that led to delays in phone number verifications of new accounts across multiple cell providers, according to Signal official twitter handle.

Telegram

Telegram is similar to WhatsApp in more than one way. Not as secure as Signal, this messaging app with Russian parentage collects name, phone number, contacts, user ID. Telegram gives the option to have local storage with encryption for your chats. It features two layers of security encryption, allowing users to have their private and group chats are encrypted client-to-cloud, and secret chats are encrypted client-to-client.

The messaging app has cloud-based operations. Launched in 2013, it was initiated by two Russian brothers Nikolai and Pavel Durov. Today, Pavel Durov is the majority owner of Telegram, who is also its CEO.

Hike Messenger

Hike Messenger is an Indian freeware, a cross-platform instant messaging application that was launched on December 12, 2012 by Kavin Bharti Mittal. The app is owned by Hike Private Limited. Unlike other IM apps, Hike work offline through SMS and has multi-platform support.

Recently, it introduced a new social product called HikeLand, a mobile-first virtual world accessible through its messaging platform. The Tiger Global and Softbank-funded startup also boasts sticker chat and gaming features.

Besides, its lets you create group with up to 500 members. It also features ‘Hidden Mode’ that lets you hide your private chats and access them only with the passcode. Hike allows users to share files in any format – ZIP, MP3, MP4, docs, etc., up to 100 MB each file.

Culled from Business Standard

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