While Facebook has always been doubted with misusing user data, the new Whatsapp privacy policies throw at ton of questions over its security and data privacy. While WhatsApp alternative apps are being favoured for better security, are they worthy enough to be your daily social messaging app?
Both Telegram and the all-new Signal (endorsed by world’s richest man, Elon Musk) are being considered the best Whatsapp alternatives given the security features offered. Should you switch?
WhatsApp vs Signal vs Telegram: Things No One Told You
WhatsApp is currently the largest messaging service in the world with over 2 billion monthly active users. Telegram has around 400 million users, while Signal has around 20 million monthly active users.
While WhatsApp stands undefeated given the number of users, we can’t shy away from the growing popularity of Telegram and Signal.
WhatsApp has everything you would need on a social messaging service including the new in-app payments feature. Group chats work with up to 256 members. You can broadcast messages to multiple contacts, support voice and video calls, both for individuals and groups.
- Group video calls (8 users at any time)
- WhatsApp Status feature (also called WhatsApp stories)
- Whatsapp allows you to share all sorts of files and documents (upto 100MB)
- Photos, videos and audio files can be shared upto 16 MB
- You can share live location with your contacts
- Backup and restore messages and data via cloud services like Google Drive and iCloud
- WhatsApp uses end to end encryption (E2E) for communication: messages, video calls, voice calls, photos and anything
- WhatsApp uses E2E protocol developed by Open Whisper Systems, same as Signal
Telegram offers support to groups with up to 200,000 members. Known for its large and massive groups, Telegram offers multiple group-specific features such as bots, polls, quizzes and hashtags, extensive for large group experiences.
- Self-destructing messages, where the message will get deleted after a point of time
- The size limit for sharing files on Telegram is 1.5 GB
- Supports voice and video call on Android and iOS devices
- Telegram supports E2E only secret chats feature
- The company confirmed it shares 0 bytes of data with third-parties or any governments till date
Coming to the latest member, Signal offers secure messaging, voice, and video calls with end-to-end encryption. You can create groups, but can’t broadcast messages to multiple contacts at once. Signal also has added support for group calling.
- Supports self-destructing messages
- Note to Self to share your own thoughts and ideas without creating single member groups
- Signal allows relay voice calls to its servers, identity is not shared, same as using a VPN
- Signal uses back-end user-facing encryption service
- It uses the open-source Signal Protocol to implement end-to-end encryption
- Signal also encrypts your metadata offering multiple levels of security
WhatsApp vs Signal vs Telegram: Privacy Permissions, Which One More Secure?
WhatsApp does not encrypt backups (cloud or local). Whatsapp also does not encrypt metadata unlike Signal, which is used to carry communication between two endpoints. WhatsApp group chats have been earlier found to be indexed on Google search, major data breach point.
Telegram group chats are not encrypted unless you use Secret Chats, which again only supports single-user communication.
Here’s list of data each of the messaging apps collects from their users:
WhatsApp Data Collection
- Device ID
- User ID
- Advertising Data
- Purchase History
- Coarse Location
- Phone Number
- Email Address
- Product Interaction
- Crash Data
- Performance Data
- Other Diagnostic Data
- Payment Info
- Customer Support
- Product Interaction
- Other User Content
Telegram Data Collection
- Contact Info
- User ID
Signal Data Collection
- It only stores your phone number