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Here Is A List of Alternate Messaging Apps You Can Switch To Following WhatsApp’s New Privacy Policies

By Muneeb Afzal

The issue of privacy was long neglected following the advent of the technological revolution. The lack of guidelines and people’s concerns with privacy gave rise to many new business models, apps and corporations. However, people have become increasingly more aware about potential privacy breaches by corporations. This has raised new questions and helped new legislations come into being, such as the GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation).

Recent changes in the privacy policy of WhatsApp, under which the users’ data will be shared with Facebook, came as a shock to many. However, to the more informed, it was simply an announcement that was long overdue. After Facebook had purchased WhatsApp, and merged Messenger, Instagram and WhatsApp onto a single platform, monetisation was easily next in line. Considering Facebook’s previous record of privacy infringements, it was only a matter of time before Facebook tapped into the vast potential of WhatsApp’s data.

Since WhatsApp officially acknowledged its new data sharing policy last week, many users are wondering what alternate messaging apps they can switch to, in order to protect their privacy. We have compiled a list of pros and cons from several known as well as comparatively lesser-known alternatives for such users’ consideration.

Signal

Pros:
One of the most high-profile secure chat apps, having endorsements from the likes of Elon Musk.
It has secure end-to-end encryption along with its code being updated by an open-source community that keeps updating possible flaws and fluctuations.

Cons:
Although favored by many, it is funded by ex-WhatsApp founders with a publicly disclosed investment of 50 million USD. With such an investment coming on board and no business model presented so far, it raises such questions as to why the money is being invested and how it will be returned. Seeing as the ex-WhatsApp founders had similarly created a new niche of data monetisation with the earlier app, one wonders about the new ways of investment recovery that the company might employ, and how privacy would fit into its equation.

Telegram

Pros:
It is another famous Russian-backed app, having many new features that are comparable with WhatsApp.

Cons:
Similar to WhatsApp, their data monetisation plans include advertisements to be introduced on public channels, leading many to ask how much of users’ data will be disclosed to advertisers. This fine print in their business model can potentially open a Pandora’s Box related to the legal sharing of users’ data with advertisers.

Viber

Pros:
It has a nice and clean UI (user interface).
It is similar to WhatsApp with a similar set of features.

Cons:
It is a European-based app that is mostly designed towards payments for calls and packages. It has no explicit declaration of not sharing data with any outside parties. Thus, given their business model, they can expose users’ data to potential data selling hosts.

ZapBuddy

Pros:
It is a small startup rather than a corporation, and has disclosed its business model which is based on Augmented Reality rather than data monetisation. This new approach is somewhat risky in terms of returns in the future, but as of now, it may prove to be useful.

Cons:
Although it has the basic set of features of a messaging app, it lacks a more detailed experience such as transfer of large files, desktop mode and the status feature which we have become accustomed to. Switching to ZapBuddy may feel like taking a step back from what we are used to. But we can forgive them at this point as they do not have a lot of resources to introduce all of the new features yet, but we do hope to get them sooner than later.

Botim

Pros:
Calls allowed for UAE easily.

Cons:
Advertisements are loaded on almost all screens affecting user experience.
The data is being shared with the government to comply with the local restrictions and data privacy is hence compromised for sure, even if it is for security reasons.

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