You have probably read the news that WhatsApp will be updating its privacy policies effective February 8, now delayed to March 15th. In broad terms, the concern is that WhatsApp will be able to share user information with its parent company, Facebook.
A little bit of history:
WhatsApp was first released on May 3, 2009 as a free messaging service created by two former Yahoo employees. It quickly became the most popular messaging application because of its focus on privacy, encrypted communication and easy-to-use features that include notifications, free audio and video calls, sharing of multimedia files (pictures, audio and videos) and group chats, among others. It was acquired by Facebook in 2014.
“WhatsApp emphasized that neither it nor Facebook can see users’ private messages or hear their calls. WhatsApp also doesn’t keep logs of who people message or call, can’t see shared locations (neither can Facebook), doesn’t share users’ contacts with Facebook and keeps WhatsApp groups private, according to the FAQ.”
For the purpose of this post, I will name them as a bundle WhatsApp/Facebook or W/F.
The new WhatsApp policies will communicate that “messages with businesses on WhatsApp may be stored on Facebook servers”.
The new features are aimed at business and users alike to provide a platform for better communication, customer support, sales and monetary transactions. Broadly said, according to W/F, this will enable business to better serve, reach and sell to clients; and users will have the chance to rate businessman and file complaints. Personal observation: That information will be shared with W/F to rate users and business, and to show advertisements based Oman individual’s transactional habits.
So, what now? What can we do to have a non-invasive messaging application?
The truth is that many users, like myself, are looking for alternative messaging applications with a focus on privacy that will not share personal information (whether WhatsApp or Facebook are being honest on their intentions or press releases).
Two major applications — Telegram and Signal — are now in the privacy concern spotlight. These applications have reported millions of new subscribers in the past days.
Telegram was launched in 2013 by two Russian programmers who later moved to Germany and are now operating from Dubai. They chose exile after refusing to share users’ personal data and messages with the Russian government. It has been the go-to messaging app for journalists, human rights advocates, political activists, and anyone with strong privacy concerns.
Signal was developed by the Signal Foundation, a non-profit organization founded in 2018. It is open-source software focused on privacy and secure communications. Signal has become the most popular messaging option for secure messaging in the States due to its end-to-end encryption and content protection.
With either of these applications, users can do the same things as with WhatsApp: messaging, free in-app phone and video calls, send pictures, audio messages, create chat groups, etc. Plus there are interesting security features not found on WhatsApp that are easy to use.
Both applications work on iPhones and Android phones (Samsung, LG, etc.) and you can install them from your phone’s app store.
To read more about their features and comparison of features, please see the links section at the end of this post.
I know it’s a lot to take in, but please read the links section. My intention is to give the community as much information as possible to help readers to make the best decisions.
In tomorrow’s publication, I will be talking about the procedure to install Signal and Telegram, and how to start communicating with your contacts that are already using those applications. I will also discuss my preferred application.
* WhatsApp emphasized that neither it nor Facebook can see users’ private messages – CNet article: https://tinyurl.com/1jfmqy9e
* WA’s FAQ: Giving More Time For Our Recent Update – https://tinyurl.com/4oxcs2f2
* WhatsApp Will Become the Next WeChat – https://tinyurl.com/1kt4b9oj
* Signal website – https://signal.org/
* Telegram website – https://telegram.org/
* Independent comparison of features between Telegram and Signal – https://tinyurl.com/sk8tjq8c
If you have not done it so far, please add my phone number and email to your contacts to start a chat on WhatsApp for more information.
Cuenca’s Tech Guy, your one-stop solution for your computers, phones, tablets, firesticks, repairs, upgrades, internet security and all tech-related needs.
Miguel Angel Estrella.
Alex Mejia: email@example.com 099 289 3125