Do we need to now ditch WhatsApp?

If you have have been using WhatsApp, then very recently you would have received a new WhatsApp agreement popup where the only option of going forward is hitting the Agree button. Well, it's not the first time an app is forcing us to agree to it's new terms and conditions. But this time the terms of Facebook are a big hit on users privacy.

WhatsApp is something which we use regularly to exchange private messages among our private groups or individual. Thus the way we use WhatsApp leaves us very vulnerable. It's not like Facebook or Instagram where we are overly conscious of what we share. Every picture or post are checked and re checked before finally hitting the post button on Facebook and Instagram. Thus if you ask me, then our data on WhatsApp is far more private than any other platform. So privacy really matters here.

So, what's so great on these terms and condition changes. Well to explain it in the simplest possible way, WhatsApp collects a lot of data about us like our location, our app usage pattern, the groups we have, etc. Previously these data collections were not used in any other platform directly and was limited to improving WhatsApp and provide further features on WhatsApp. However, the recent terms and condition changes will allow Facebook, which is the parent company owning WhatsApp, to send this data to Facebook and its other child companies like Instagram. So now they can target ads to you based on your WhatsApp usage. Also if you only use WhatsApp but are not interested in Facebook or Instagram as in you don't use it, still these apps will get your data.

So what are the alternatives now?

  1. Signal

Well this is a messaging platform which seems really serious about it's users privacy. All messages and calls on Signal are end-to-end encrypted by default, meaning no third-party, and not even Signal can access them. According to Signal's privacy policy, the main information collected is just your account information which primarily the phone number used to create the Signal account.

2. Telegram

Telegram is another popular platform. This has very similar features to that of WhatsApp and Signal but the reason I mentioned it second is because, by default messages are not end to end encrypted. But you can always create a secret chat. If you as me, personally I believe chat needs to end to end encrypted by default.

Data Collection Comparison Of These Apps

Below I have tried to provide a side by side comparison of the data collected by these individual apps as available on the Apple App store as of 10th Jan 2020. Just have a look for yourself and decide does privacy really matter to you or comfort has more value.

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