In this Whatsapp vs Telegram vs Signal comparison, we dig into the details, in simple terms, to show you the differences between the three apps, as well as answer the question of whether or not you should switch from WhatsApp, based on the new January 2021 terms and conditions.
At the core of the January 2021 updated terms and conditions by WhatsApp are the following statements:
“As part of the Facebook family of companies, WhatsApp receives information from, and shares information with, this family of companies,
“We may use the information we receive from them, and they may use the information we share with them, to help operate, provide, improve, understand, customize, support, and market our Services and their offerings.”
In other words, WhatsApp will share your data with Facebook’s other services like Facebook itself and Instagram. Scary; right? Well, not quite.
Note that it is unlikely that WhatsApp is going to be sharing the contents of your chats with its other services. The information that will be shared are personal data like the phone number of users and their contacts, profile names, profile photos, diagnostic data, etc.
Your WhatsApp chats are encrypted and secure (though not as much as it should be, as we shall see further down in this article).
Should you switch to Telegram or Signal?
The billion dollar question is, Should you switch away from WhatsApp? Should you abandon it for alternatives like Telegram and Signal?
You probably should. For one, they are more secure than WhatsApp. As mentioned above, WhatsApp mines the personal information of you and your contacts to power Facebook’s advertising empire and to “improve” their products. In the future, those information may be used for more purposes.
WhatsApp collects your Device ID, User ID, advertising data and purchase history, location, phone number, email address., contacts, diagnostic data, and the like.
Telegram collects only your contact info, your Contacts, and User ID.
Signal collects only your phone number.
In terms of what service mines your data the most, WhatsApp is the undisputed king by a mile. So, if you are bothered by collection of your data, you should be worried about using WhatsApp. So, why did I not say you should switch? Why did I say that you probably should?
The thing is that if you already use Facebook and Instagram apps on your smartphone, they are already collecting almost every single one of those personal data that WhatsApp is now collecting and sharing with them. WhatsApp, Facebook and Instagram are part and parcel of the Facebook family of companies.
If they are already collecting these data, why is WhatsApp now collecting them too? Think of the principle of the word of two or three witnesses – it firms up the information they have about you.
At a hospital, when dealing with severe cases and the need to be sure before taking action, two or more qualified doctors will review your case and give their insights. That is the idea here.
Think of the Facebook Corporation building a profile on you by combining the data available on you from all three of their apps. Bingo. Facebook can build a more accurate profile of you and your activities and wants. That’s why.
So, leaving WhatsApp when you still have Instagram and Facebook apps on your phone is…well….largely a waste of time. The very company you are running away from is still mining your personal infor from its other apps on your phone.
So, this is the conclusion: if you want to leave WhatsApp and delete it from your phone because of the new 2021 terms and conditions, be sure to delete Facebook and Instagram as well. If not, there is not much that will change.
You should use Telegram or Signal for more secure communications though
The differences between WhatsApp, Telegram and Signal are not only about the amount of data collected though, so if you want more secure messaging on your phone, you should install one of those apps for such use.
How do these three stand in terms of privacy and security? Check the table below.
Whatsapp vs Telegram vs Signal Comparison
Here at Mobility Arena, we try to keep things uncomplicated and leave out details that are too technical for most people to understand. And that is what we shall do here as well. So, here are quick descriptions for each of these chat services:
WhatsApp is the most fun to use, but it is also the one that collects the most person data. In addition, most of the people you know use it. If you use it for Business, it might be difficult to ditch it just because it is also the least secure or because it mines your data.
Telegram has a fast-growing user base and is trendy and easy to use. It has some features that WhatsApp lacks, especially for Groups and for more secure messaging. Some of your contacts are already using it.
Signal is the least fun to use. It offers the most secure messaging. But it is also the least popular by miles and you will be hard pressed to find your family and friends there.
Should you abandon WhatsApp for Telegram or Signal? Should you install Telegram and/or Signal in addition to WhatsApp? What you do now is up to you.
But allow me to reiterate: to a large extent, deleting WhatsApp is a fruitless effort if you will continue to use apps like Facebook and Instagram. They belong to the same company and are all collecting your data every minute your smartphone has an Internet access.
I hope this article has helped you understand what the new January 2021 terms and conditions by WhatsApp are all about, and to decide whether or not you need to abandon WhatsApp or even use any of its alternatives.
If you have any questions about this Whatsapp vs Telegram vs Signal dilemma, I am happy to help with (hopefully useful) answers.
Founder of MobilityArena. Yomi’s journey in mobile started in 2001. Besides obsessing over mobile phones, he also started creating WAP sites (early mobile-friendly websites created with WML). He began writing about phones in 2004 and has been at it since then. He has owned over 200 devices, from Symbian, Palm, PocketPC/Windows Mobile, BlackBerry/BB10, webOS, Windows Phone, Firefox, Ubuntu Touch, to Android, iOS, and KaiOS operating systems.