Which app is better from WhatsApp and Signal and Telegram

As if there were not enough issues in the world causing headache to all of us in everyday life, COVID-19 pandemic being a life-changer for almost a year now, here comes another brain-buster raising a huge question mark on the most used messaging app throughout the world – WhatsApp. Majority of the people around use WhatsApp messages and WhatsApp calls to interact with each other and also to share documents and other files of different formats. The versatile working capabilities of WhatsApp never made us feel that we would need any other messaging app in our smartphones.

But the new privacy changes in WhatsApp messenger have hit our minds hard, forcing us to shift to its rival messaging apps, mainly Signal and Telegram. I am a very easy-going person and hate shifting to new apps once I get familiar with one, even though I am quite tech-savvy, and similar is the scenario in the lives of most of us. However, now that WhatsApp privacy changes are facing a lot of heat globally, it is high time we have a look at competitor apps Signal and Telegram, just in case we need to move over.

Here is a quick and brief overview of the three most used messaging apps in the world – WhatsApp, Signal and Telegram, and the doubts revolving around these names.


WhatsApp logo with text

The foremost point to be discussed here is about what all prominent changes has WhatsApp made because of which it is facing such a huge loss of customers and their trust in this messaging app. The major point of concern in updated privacy policy is that WhatsApp will now share some of its users’ information with Facebook and also other Facebook owned networks such as Instagram and Messenger. The information that WhatsApp will collect and share is the browser information of users, language, users’ time-zones, mobile networks and also IP Addresses. Not just this, but your device information like battery levels, signal strength and related connection information such as ISP (Internet Service Provider) will be shared as well.

Although the key feature of messaging will remain intact which is end-to-end encrypted conversations and calling. Chats and calls on WhatsApp cannot be accessed by either WhatsApp or Facebook. It is important to mention here that only the encrypted data is safe, and legitimate questions are being raised on the “other unencrypted data points” which sound problematic, either right now or perhaps in future. And this can only be known in future whether these networks actually use the collected data against the ethics and privacy norms or not. Another aspect leading people to doubt the app’s intentions is the questionable record of Facebook, which has already been in limelight for its privacy breaches and the vulnerabilities in security, initiating mainly from Cambridge Analytica Scandal.

WhatsApp is trying its best to convey that the chats will remain end-to-end encrypted and to retain its users. Also, the tech-giant has postponed the last date of accepting the new privacy policy which was 8th Feb 2021, and has now set the date to 15th May 2021, in order to give more time to its users to clear all the doubts caused by the misinformation and to maintain trust on WhatsApp.


Signal app logo with name

Signal is also a typical messaging app which can easily be installed in your device with a single tap either on the Google Play Store or Apple App Store. Signal is owned by a non-profit organization named Signal Foundation and is quite popular among high-profile privacy icons such as Edward Snowden. Not just the high-profile individuals, but also leading international news and media houses like The Guardian, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and The Washington Post recommend the use of Signal app for contacting their reporters securely.

The main function of Signal messaging app that stands apart is that it does not store the data of users at all, and such an offer of privacy on shelf is extremely hard to beat. The messages in the form of texts, audio, video or pictures, are fully encrypted and not stored anywhere at the backend and such high level of security is definitely a life-saver. Furthermore, the provision of additional privacy options like app-specific locks, face-blurring tools, disappearing messages, etc. add more to the reputation of privacy provided by Signal to its users.

Recently, Elon Musk endorsed the use of Signal by writing a short tweet in its favor after which there has been a sudden growth in Signal consumers to an extent that Signal started facing technical difficulties due to server overload caused by sudden influx of users.


Telegram app logo with name

This messaging application can be considered as somewhat in the middle of WhatsApp and Signal considering the data security and privacy. Telegram also collects the IP addresses of its users, which is not the case in Signal. Apart from this, the personal messages in one-to-one chat in Telegram are not encrypted by default, and the users have to turn-on this setting instead. Moreover, the group messages in Telegram app are also not encrypted from end-to-end. Because of these unclear operations, the researchers have never been sure about what exactly happens to the users’ messages once they reach the Telegram servers.

The thing that makes Telegram stand apart is the environment within the messaging app, which gives a feel of social networking applications. The fact that Telegram collects data like users’ name, contact numbers, user ID and contacts makes it stand behind Signal in terms of privacy and security of user-data.

If we go into the history of data breaches in Telegram, you will be shocked to know that around 4 crore 20 lacs (42 million) of Telegram User IDs and also contact numbers got exposed during March 2020 while another similar breach took place in the year 2016 as well, when 15 million Telegram users in Iran were exposed risking their privacy and social security. Apart from these huge breaches of data, Telegram bugs and a deep-fake bot raised huge questions on the risk of privacy in using Telegram.

WhatsApp vs Telegram vs Signal
Life is too short to live with stress about every other thing in life. Undoubtedly, messaging apps have made it possible to remain connected with our loved ones living in far-off places, but at the same time, the rising risk of privacy and security loss is ruining all the fun of these messaging apps like WhatsApp, Signal, Telegram, etc. For the time being, as far as a quick comparison of features and privacy policies of messaging apps is considered, Signal clearly emerges as the winner in terms of privacy and security of users among these messaging apps.

As WhatsApp has postponed its privacy policy changes, you need not worry about any kind of data breach for now if you are a WhatsApp user and don’t want to shift to any other app. However, if you still can’t keep the stress of privacy-risk away from your mind, then I would recommend you to make your life simple right away and switch to Signal which is, for now, the best app in terms of privacy and data security of its users.

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