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The WhatsApp dilemma and alternatives

Recent moves by Mark Zuckerberg's technology giant have called into question the security of the most popular instant messaging platform among users: WhatsApp. Are there alternatives to this application? What are they and what features do they have?

José Luis Pascual-May 24, 2021-Reading time: 3 minutes

Photo credit: Adem AY / Unsplash

With more than 2 billion users in 180 countries, WhatsApp is everyone's favorite messaging app. Facebook's acquisition of WhatsApp in 2014 created concern among privacy and security experts, as Facebook and its third-party apps have been involved in multiple security breaches, in which a lot of users' private information was leaked.

This is about to change. Facebook has announced that it plans to merge the functions of Facebook, WhatsApp and Instagram, allowing users to send messages to each other between the three networks. A source confirmed that current plans would include extending end-to-end encryption to all these platforms. 

In theory, this would make both Facebook and Instagram as secure as WhatsApp. However, it could be that with this measure WhatsApp would be less secure, decreasing its protection.

Security gaps

WhatsApp promises end-to-end encryption. But there are several loopholes that the company needs to review. 

Your legal notice alleges the following: "As part of the Facebook family of companies, WhatsApp receives and shares information with all of them. We may use the information we receive from them and they may use the information we share to help us operate, provide, improve, understand, customize, support, and market our services and their products; they may also use the information we provide to improve your experience with their services, such as product suggestions. We do not keep logs of messages in the normal course of our services. however, we do keep our users' account information, including profile picture, profile name or status, if they choose to include it as part of their account information."

This means that WhatsApp retains user information on its private servers, and the company can use this information for advertising or political purposes. The government could get hold of the information stored on its servers in the event of an event. "out of the ordinary"

And it could happen that hackers manage to break into their servers and gain access to user accounts.


This has made us think of alternative possibilities. In addition to others such as Threema, Wire, Riot.IM, the main ones are the following two.

-Signal. It is free, has strong encryption and works on all mobile platforms. It is simple to use and offers voice and video calls. 

It has desktop installation files, and the application can be used from both PC and mobile. Messages are encrypted so that only the sender and receiver can read them, making them completely unreadable to hackers. It uses open source encryption, which allows experts to test it for bugs. This makes the application even more secure. 

Your messages can be made to disappear by selecting a time interval after which they are automatically deleted; this ensures privacy, even if someone else gains access to the phone.

-Telegram. With over 600 million users, it is a popular alternative to WhatsApp. It is a cloud-based application, and is compatible with multiple platforms. Like others, it employs the double "tick" system to reflect that the recipient has received the message. It offers end-to-end encryption for voice calls by default, so no one can listen in on your calls. 

However, encryption for text messages has to be activated manually to prevent logs from being saved. As in the case of Signal, it offers the option to automatically delete a message after a certain time has elapsed, and also allows the exchange of multimedia files.

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