Best Online Business Magazine
Is it the End of Whatsapp? Will Signal or Telegram be the Answer?

WhatsApp recently issued a new privacy policy, which wasn’t particularly clear creating havoc on the internet. As WhatsApp announced this update, millions of users shifted to other messaging platforms and this, in turn, gave a hike to Signal and Telegram, which experienced the maximum number of downloads. So, what exactly led individuals to make such a hard and fast decision? Are they satisfied with the newly integrated messaging platform? Well, let’s jump to find some answers to the most googled messaging apps over the past few weeks. 

A large audience stated their intention to delete WhatsApp and switch to Signal. According to mobile app analytics firm Sensor Tower, which recorded a survey on Signal and Telegram. In the first week of January, Signal hit a whopping number of 17.8 downloads on Apple and Google that is a 61-fold increase as compared to the 285,000 the previous week. On the other hand, Telegram had 15.7 million downloads which were twice the 7.6 million downloads as the earlier week. 

So, Signal and Telegram both received millions of new users ever since the WhatsApp privacy update. This loss was huge on WhatsApp’s part and it didn’t want to face more repercussions by losing another million users. Hence, it soon declared a clarification while justifying that the new policy doesn’t harm its privacy or even users’ data is not shared with Facebook. It further explained that the content of one’s chat remains protected via end-to-end encryption, which assures users that no one views their messages, calls, or files i.e. not even WhatsApp, Facebook, or their respective authorities. However, the users were not able to trust WhatsApp’s new promises as it has already claimed back in 2014 when Facebook bought WhatsApp that it will keep both of the applications and its services separate. Yet, this promise was not kept and it compounded all the messaging systems of Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp.  

In another response to this, it admitted that the messaging app doesn’t gather the content of chats, calls, or any file records, but it does collect the metadata attached to it such as the sender’s and receiver’s information including date, time, year and more. This information is shared with Facebook companies and this can be happening for years. So, does that mean WhatsApp users are Facebook customers? As it has been collecting some sort of data from users while they interact with businesses and not their contacts. When this statement went viral and the news became global, WhatsApp further announced a deferral in the integration of this new policy until 15 May. “We want to be clear that the policy update does not affect the privacy of your messages with friends or family in any way,” states WhatsApp by posting an update regarding this on its official website and is also paying Google to advertise this under keyword searches for “WhatsApp privacy policy”.

The Rise of Signal and Telegram

Signal and Telegram are both messaging apps with all standard features such as photos, stickers, audio, video, and sharing files.  

What is Signal?

The signal is a chat encrypted secure application performing various actions such as messaging and calling through the Internet. The main reason for its popularity is the focus it implies on privacy. It doesn’t collect personal data, only has your phone number. It is fully open-source and is funded by a non-profit Signal Foundation. It is free of cost and runs no ads on its application. Individuals can easily download it from Google’s Play Store and Apple’s App Store. The fully encrypted text, video, audio, and picture messages can be sent to both individuals and groups. The USP of this application is that one can’t beat its privacy as it doesn’t store user data and has various security features like on-screen privacy options, app-specific locks, blank notification pop-ups, disappearing messages, and more. According to a survey, the leading networks like The Washington Post, The New York Times, The Guardian, and The Wall Street Journal all use Signal for communicating with their reporters.

The signal doesn’t analyze, share or profit from any user’s private information and maintains all personal and private data intact. It can be used on a computer desktop and has social features of contacting up to eight individuals for voice and video chat. Similar to WhatsApp, Signal uses phone numbers as identity, which has always raised questions for some concerning privacy and security advocates, hence in the upcoming times, the company will be introducing pin codes to ensure a more safer and private way for identifying users. Also, as far as the free model of Signal is concerned, the company promises to maintain that way even if its users increase in the future. The application aims to offer its service for free of cost as it is exclusively supported by grants and donations of Signal Foundation founded in 2018. Brain Acton who is the former co-founder of WhatsApp made initial funding of $50 million in this company stated, “We believe that millions of people value privacy enough to sustain it, and we’re here to demonstrate that there is an alternative to the ad-based business models that exploit user privacy”

  • What is Telegram?

Telegram is a messaging app that operates as a privacy-focused service offering one-to-one secure messaging and also group chats. This cloud-based software has 500 million active users and has excellent features like unlimited server storage, media compression, multi-platform support, multiple sessions, username feature, and more. Telegram is distinctively known for its security, which means all its chats, groups, media shared between participants are encrypted. It also has a Secret Chat feature which is a kind of end to end encrypted chat that allows individuals to set a self-destruct timer to automatically delete the messages when the timer hits. The app can be easily downloaded from Apple’s App Store or Google’s Play Store and can be used on smartphones, tablets, laptops, and computers. It is available for Windows Phone, Windows NT, Linux, and macOS.  

Telegram vs Signal: Which one should you pick?  

The primary goal with both these messaging applications is providing security and not invading privacy. If you are concerned with maximum privacy while communicating then Signal will be a good fit for you as it offers utmost safety. On the contrary, if Telegram’s layout and features seem more attractive and you like to socialize on large group chats, then Telegram can be your

go-to messaging app. This decision will also depend upon which out of the two do your family, friends, colleagues, and others use as it will be more feasible for you to contact them. Also, you can consider giving both a shot and then make a final choice as it is always worth trying one or more options. With time, Signal and Telegram will both keep updating their interfaces and versions.