Signal vs WhatsApp: The War for Privacy is ON

2021 is hitting us hard! Besides the crazy things happening in politics, we now have to fight for our privacy like never before. Indeed, there’s one more app you’ll have to say goodbye to if you don’t want strangers to know what you’re doing.

WhatsApp is throwing us out

It’s not an obscure app, but the one and only… WhatsApp. The one that holds in its hands the lives of over 2 billion users. Believe it or not, WhatsApp told users that either they share data with Facebook or they will be thrown off the app.

The data in question includes phone model and OS, payment, browser information, location and more.

The change will take place on February 8. You have about a month to decide what to do. The move sparked such outrage that even Elon Musk and Jack Dorsey got involved. The first, telling followers to use a WhatsApp alternative, the other, backing up Musk with a retweet.

This might be the beginning of the end for the app. The war for privacy is on for all intents and purposes. And, lucky us, there are alternatives to WhatsApp.

The app Elon Musk and Jack Dorsey recommend

Like Signal. After Musk advised people to use Signal instead of WhatsApp, more than 100,000 people downloaded the app. Actually, verifying codes are delayed right now due to the massive number of overnight requests to sign up. 

Heard of it? No? Signal is actually at the core of WhatsApp and WhatsApp is part of Signal’s family now, at least in one way.  So how come you haven’t heard about it? First, because Signal is an NGO – the app is under the Signal Foundation. Then, because it’s not friendly; not with authorities, not with marketers and businesses. Third, because it’s controversial and for many, a dirty little secret. 

Signal grew as a crazy popular app for cheaters and more recently, for protesters. Why? Well, since 2016, Signal offers users the chance to time their messages. Basically, you can opt to let the message show in the chat for 5 seconds to one week.

After that, it disappears. 

No one will see it again.

Protesters <3 Signal

You can see how that helps people sneak around. Also, it’s become wildly successful after the death of George Floyd. As the Black Lives Matter movement started and protesters were looking for a way to communicate safely, Signal became the go-to app. In a week, there were about 78,000 new downloads.

Why wasn’t WhatsApp used? Because, unlike Signal, WhatsApp doesn’t encrypt metadata, too. Signal does. By encrypting it, police can’t find out whom you messaged, when and for how long. 

Seems too good to be true? Well, guess what: several years ago, police actually asked Signal to help them with a case. All Signal could do was give them the date when those accounts were created and the last time they were active. 

And while WhatsApp is becoming more and more open with our data, Signal is doing the opposite. Recently, they even introduced a blur tool for photos.

So is there no weakness with Signal? And how bad is WhatsApp? Watch the video above to find out!

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