run WhatsApp

If the new WhatsApp terms and conditions and the general attitude of Facebook have left you feeling a bit puzzled, you may have thought like many others of continuing your online discussions on other Instant Messaging applications such as Signal, Telegram and many others.

About two weeks ago, users learned that Whatsapp had updated its terms of use. It will allow other services of the Facebook group to access certain data collected on the messaging service and since then, WhatsApp has attempted to reassure its users by indicating that the elements of the conversations would not be accessed by Facebook. The company says that this data will not be shared for European users or that the update would only concern companies seeking to link their stores on WhatsApp and Facebook or Instagram.

This information made the famous WhatsApp messaging app under fire for asking its nearly 2 billion followers to accept new terms of use, which made many users start to flee to Signal and Telegram among many other applications.

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WhatsApp new terms and conditions
WhatsApp new terms and conditions

Signal

A rival to Telegram and WhatsApp, Signal also employs end-to-end encryption for secure messaging. 

Many say that a tweet by Elon Musk, owner of Tesla was enough to trigger a massive exodus to Signal. But in fact, the app already had a good supply of users and long-standing supporters, such as the US whistleblower Edward Snowden. The day after the announcement of WhatsApp, Signal began to top free app downloads on the Apple Store and Google Play platforms, and in several countries. 

It works exactly the same way as WhatsApp. A number is needed in order to register and you are able to make phone calls, either single or in a group, send messages, photos, videos and documents. All exchanges are end-to-end encrypted and it offers a high level of data protection and functions globally similar to WhatsApp.

Telegram

This instant messaging app was created by Russian entrepreneur Pavel Durov, who built himself an aura of human rights defender after successfully resisting censorship of his platform in his homeland in 2018. 

Telegram proposes a function of search for public discussion groups and numerous public groups, affiliated for example with QAnon and other conspiracy theories, are developing there. The instant messaging app has gained tens of millions of users with WhatsApp setbacks, allowing it to pass the symbolic milestone of 500 million active users.

However, In terms of security, the ultimate setback is end-to-end encryption. Telegram proposes it, but it is not proposed by default. Therefore you have to activate it manually which some users say is a bit of a hassle to find in the different phone settings. The group messages and the desktop version of the application as well do not offer end-to-end encryption.

Other upcoming apps 

There are other applications mostly European that people are turning to as well that are becoming quite popular and are also safe to use such as Olvid, Skred and Threema.

They are attracting new users and there are also more confidential initiatives such as that the messages exchanged never pass through a server, called a trusted agent, but only from phone to phone which means there is more encryption and no outside party can  access the conversations between or among users.

WhatsApp however told users not to panic and said in a blog post that their terms were not new, just simply expanded and that they cannot see private messages or hear personal calls and neither could Facebook.

The swift exodus of users after their announcement prompted WhatsApp to delay the implementation of their expanded privacy terms from the original date of February 8, 2021 to May 15, 2021.

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