In today’s digital age, when all the important information of everyone is stored online, privacy is a growing and reasonable concern for everyone. The social media apps which are used by people should be safe. However, since most famous social media apps are owned by a single company, the safety of each of these apps is of concern.
Whatsapp is one of the most famous messaging apps with over 1 billion users spread across 180 countries. Facebook acquired Whatsapp in 2014 which worried lots of privacy experts. Facebook and its third-party apps, on previous occasions, had multiple security breaches which had left the private information of many users in the public. Whatsapp had however maintained that it is an independent app that is dedicated to maintaining a secure messaging service.
Even though Whatsapp has the great security feature of end-to-end encryption, it still belongs to the Facebook family. Its legal disclaimer states that Whatsapp shares information allowed by the user to the Facebook family of companies. The information that is shared is used by these apps to operate and customize products and services for the user and to improve the user experience within their services. Even though messages are secure, other data is shared with the other Facebook apps which risk the privacy of the user. This is why many people wanted to find alternative messaging apps that are more secured than Whatsapp but would be just as convenient to use.
Telegram was the first name that emerged after WhatsApp and has become a popular alternative messaging app with over 500 million users. It is a cloud-based app which means that it can be used on various devices and across multiple platforms and no information can be lost. It gathers much less data than Whatsapp and will not hand over whatever data it has collected to any other company. The app has a default end-to-end encryption over voice calls ensuring no one can listen in on your calls.
To store private chats and group chats, it does have server-side encryption but end-to-end encryption can be manually turned on with the option of using Secret Chat for the most private messages. It also supports two-step verification if a user wants better security. The app gives you the option of deleting messages after a while and multimedia sharing is also available. It is a free, open-source platform and is user-friendly. It is available for Android, iOS, MAC, Windows, and Linux.
Signal is also one of the top apps that emerged. It is a free and secure messaging app with end-to-end transcripted text, video and voice calls, voice chats, and photo and video sharing. It is built around the widely recognized and most secure messaging protocol called the Signal Messaging Protocol. Signal makes sure that it stores as little of your data as possible which includes- your phone number, the date and time you joined Signal, and your last login time.
Not only is every single message encrypted, but the app also uses open-source encryption allowing experts to test and verify for bugs. Other information such as your contact list, people you’re commuting with, groups, etc. is stored only in the device making it impossible for anyone, even Signal’s personnel to access them. Users can also choose to make the messages disappear by selecting a particular time frame for the visibility of the messages. All these features make the app one of the most secure messaging apps out there. Its mobile version is available for Android, iOS, and the desktop version for MAC, Windows, and Linux.
Threema is another messaging app that provides complete privacy. The texts, calls, shared multimedia files, and group chats are all end-to-end encrypted. The contact list and group information are stored solely on your phone. Messages sent are deleted rights after they’ve been read by the recipient. In Threema, you are connected to people with an 8-digit Threema unique id instead of your phone number or any user-identifiable data. Contacts can be verified with unique QR codes.
Threema can be used in the browser as well. Message formatting is available and the option to hide and password-protect particular chats are also provided. Based in Switzerland which is known for its pro-privacy laws, Threema is a very secure messaging app to use. Even though it is a paid app, if you are concerned about your privacy, Threema is one of the best alternatives.
Wire is a messaging app that is GDPR compliant meaning it’s protected by European data retention laws. Even though Wire is a corporate collaboration suite, it offers Wire Personal which is a suitable alternative for Whatsapp. It provides secure, end-to-end transcripted messaging, group chat, file sharing, and screen sharing features. Even though the company logs some data, it’s not to the extent of Whatsapp. Messages cannot be read by the company, even if it’s awaiting transfer and once the message is delivered, it is deleted from the company servers. To create an account on Wire, an email address or phone number is used. This app is available on nearly all major platforms and one account can be used simultaneously in eight different synced devices. Text formatting is available and a time limit can be provided after which messages can be deleted. It has a small user base but it’s very secure. Wire is available for Android, iOS, Windows, MAC, and all other popular browsers.
Another one of the best secure messaging apps, Wickr Me takes special care to maintain the anonymity of its users. No user-identifiable data is required to log into the app. The texts, voice messages, voice and video calls, and shared multimedia fines are all end-to-end transcripted. The messages are ephemeral and all content is wiped from the user’s device and company’s database after the specified time limit set by the user has elapsed. The app doesn’t log the IP Address or Unique Device ID and is GDPR compliant. The free version of this app is available for Android, iOS, Windows, MAC, and Linux.
With these apps, you will have no worries about the privacy of your device.