As we’ve covered in detail here on 9to5Mac, Facebook’s suite of apps has been down for hours: Facebook, Messenger, Instagram, and WhatsApp. If you are looking for an alternative to WhatsApp for cross-platform encrypted communication, go below for the best choices.
First, when WhatsApp was acquired by Facebook for $ 19 billion, the messaging app assured users that the acquisition would make no change to its focus on user privacy and “know as little as possible about it.” you “. In 2016, WhatsApp started sharing data with Facebook by default, but users still had the option to opt out.
But switching from WhatsApp to alternatives isn’t as easy as you might think. For many people, WhatsApp is a primary tool for communicating with friends and family, and while those of us in the tech community are ready to make the switch, not everyone will feel the same. .
WhatsApp is considered by many to be the true cross-platform messaging solution the world needs. Despite some concerns over the years, the messaging remains end-to-end encrypted, so Facebook (in its current state) cannot see the content of the messages.
Of course, the ideal solution for Apple is to bring iMessage to Android and Windows, but such a development is highly unlikely to be even something Apple is considering these days. Much like one solution for easy, cross-platform, encrypted video communication would be to bring FaceTime to non-Apple devices.
Nevertheless, here are some alternatives to WhatsApp for cross-platform encrypted messaging.
Signal has seen a dramatic increase in popularity over the past year as people have turned to new platforms for encrypted communication. The app supports group text and audio messages, as well as audio and video calls. It is compatible with iPhone, iPad, Mac, Windows, Linux and Android.
Compared to WhatsApp, Signal has a clear focus on privacy. There are a variety of keys in the Signal app to highlight this goal, including things like single display media, Signal PIN, and more. Signal is also an independent nonprofit, which means development is supported solely by user donations.
Signal uses end-to-end encryption for messaging, based on the Signal protocol, and also does not save metadata about messages or users. The App Privacy label on the App Store states that Signal does not collect any data related to users. A report of The Wall Street Journal give more details about it:
The app also doesn’t save much information (metadata) about the nature of the messages themselves. “Signal makes a point of keeping as little data as possible while being able to provide service,” said Lujo Bauer, professor of computer science at Carnegie Mellon University.
Obviously, if you’re looking for a new messaging app that focuses on privacy and encryption, Signal is a great option. Signal is available on the App Store as a free download.
Telegram is one of the more popular alternatives to WhatsApp, providing a cross-platform solution for messaging with end-to-end encryption that is also completely free. In fact, Telegram claims to be more secure than WhatsApp because of its use of the MTProto protocol:
Telegram is more secure than mass market messengers like WhatsApp and Line. We are based on the MTProto protocol, built on algorithms proven to make security compatible with high speed delivery and reliability over weak connections. We are continually working with the community to improve the security of our protocol and our clients.
As for protecting data other than the encrypted messages themselves, Telegram says it uses a distributed infrastructure. “The relevant decryption keys are split into several parts and are never kept in the same place as the data they protect,” the company explains.
The new app privacy labels on the App Store show three pieces of data that “can be collected and linked to your identity,” including contact information, contacts, and identifiers.
Telegram is available on the App Store as a free download.
Again, as I wrote at the start of this article, switching from WhatsApp to something like Telegram or Signal isn’t as seamless as it sounds. Neither app has garnered widespread WhatsApp adoption, but if you want to be the anti-Facebook force among your friends and family, Signal and Telegram are two great alternatives.
A third-party tool that might help you is one called Watomatic, which is designed to let your WhatsApp contacts know that you’ve changed your messaging service completely.
Do you have any additional recommendations? Do you plan to stick with WhatsApp despite growing ties to Facebook? Let us know in the comments!
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