As we spend more time online, user privacy has become more critical than ever – both for consumers and businesses. Messaging apps are already the default option to “text and talk” (as eSIM for cellular data) and mobile users prefer to use apps with the best privacy and usability features. Facebook Messenger, iMessage, WhatsApp and Signal are commonly used apps. In this post we briefly compare these apps to help you pick what is best for you.
Why this is important now!
Apple recently changed the way mobile apps access user data from other apps. By default, now iOS users will have to explicitly authorize a mobile app to access their data from another app. The app that has been impacted the most by this change is Facebook. Facebook collects data from other apps to improve its ad targeting and user experience.
As the owner of WhatsApp, Facebook now is changing WhatsApp privacy terms starting February 2021. To continue using WhatsApp, WhatsApp users will have to agree to share their data with Facebook.
Shall we all move to Signal?
To begin with a brutal fact: there is no free service without “eventual caveats”. Like any business, mobile apps have to make money to stay in business. While Signal is still free (so far) with lots of security features, it is still not widely used (so far). If you need it for social chat it will be limited, and most of your friends and contacts may be on another app like WhatsApp or iMessage.
Regardless of what app(s) you end up using, it is important to note that service and privacy terms always change. Just keep an eye on changes that make an app incompatible with your use case.