Telegram or Signal: which one is better for you to leave WhatsApp – Everyday Science
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Telegram or Signal: which one is better for you to leave WhatsApp

Telegram-or-Signal
Telegram or Signal

We are talking about two of the most secure messaging apps you can find in 2021.

In recent days, instant messaging applications have become a trend in various parts of the world, this is after WhatsApp announced a change in its privacy policy, while Elon Musk recommended his followers on Twitter to use Signal instead of WhatsApp.

But what is Signal? Why do they want us to abandon WhatsApp? Are there other interesting options besides the app suggested by Musk? We will answer these questions throughout this article, but first, you should know why there are people who want to leave WhatsApp after the update to their privacy policy.

The most important change is that Facebook will receive usage data from WhatsApp, although this does not at any time contemplate that the company will be able to access your messages, because to a certain extent it is “impossible”, thanks to Signal.

But stopping using WhatsApp is not easy, because we are talking about the most used messaging application in the world, and that in 2020 it already had more than 2 billion monthly users, according to Statista data.

Despite this, in the West, there are two very popular options that could be an alternative to stop using WhatsApp: Telegram and Signal. Which one is best for you? That depends a lot on your main focus when using a messaging app.

Signal: the app Musk and Snowden recommend

The signal app is not very different from Telegram and WhatsApp in terms of functions; in fact, WhatsApp uses a technology developed by Signal, such as end-to-end encryption called Open Whispers Systems. This technology is responsible for not even Facebook being able to access WhatsApp messages.

Signal’s flag is privacy, because it promises that all chats, calls, and video calls are encrypted, in this way there is no way that the company, the government, or a hacker can access your conversations, they are only visible to the participants of each chat.

As with WhatsApp, Signal allows you to send all kinds of multimedia files, from Gifs to voice notes, it is possible to create groups; In addition to the version for Android and iOS, it also has a desktop version.

Returning to the issue of privacy, Signal does not store any type of data from your phone and allows you to choose to self-destruct messages and multimedia content in a chat.

Important people who have dedicated their work to privacy and security such as former CIA employee and privacy activist Edward Snowden, security technologist Bruce Schneier or journalist and Oscar winner Laura Poitras, have recommended the use of the Signal app, and all stand out for their privacy and security.

On the other hand, more media characters such as Elon Musk (founder of Tesla and SpaceX), Jack Dorsey (CEO and founder of Twitter) or Brian Acton (co-founder of WhatsApp) have asked users to leave WhatsApp and use Signal, in fact, the latter donated 50 million dollars to the development of the application in 2018.

Elon Musk said he had donated to Signal a year ago and he will donate more.

Another important feature is that when using Signal for the first time you must configure a PIN that will be encrypted and will serve to prevent anyone from accessing your account from another device; it will also allow you to recover your blocked groups and people when you log in to a new device.

Fact: Signal was created by WhatsApp co-founder Brian Acton and current CEO of Signal messenger Moxie Marlinspike. Brian Acton left WhatsApp in 2017 and donated $ 50 Million to fund Signal.

Telegram: much more complete and also focused on privacy

The Telegram was launched in 2013 (just 1 year before Signal; however, its creator, Pavel Durov, invested a large part of his savings (as he has mentioned several times) so that the development of Telegram grew exponentially.

Currently, Telegram is one of the most complete messaging applications in the world in terms of functions, and according to figures from the company itself, by December 2020 they had almost 500 million active users around the world.

According to data from Statista, until October 2020, Telegram was the sixth most used messaging application in the world, only behind WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, WeChat, QQ, and Snapchat.

Like Signal and WhatsApp, Telegram allows the sending of all kinds of multimedia files, and in addition to voice notes, it also includes video notes. It has calls and video calls. One of its most used characteristics is its groups and channels, which are used by user communities, YouTubers, companies, and the media to share information with their customers and followers. 

Telegram also has the advantage of Cloud backup, so you can log in to multiple devices simultaneously, and the desktop version doesn’t require your phone to have an internet connection to work. In the same way, your chats are updated simultaneously on all the devices where you have logged in.

Regarding privacy, Telegram uses its own encryption technology known as MTProto. And despite the fact that security experts favor Signal encryption, Telegram held a contest that offered $ 300,000 to anyone who managed to breach the MTProto encryption, but no one succeeded.

Despite this, Telegram also offers the option to use end-to-end encryption, but only in secret chats, which also prevents participants from taking screenshots, making them the best option for sharing sensitive information with other contacts.

In Pavel Durov’s Telegram messaging application it is also possible to activate the self-destruction of multimedia content in all types of chats, but in text messages, this is only possible in secret chats.

Finally, Telegram also allows users to activate 2-step authentication, so every time you want to log in to a new device, you will have to first enter the verification code that arrives on your device and then your password. Also, you will always receive a login notification, so in case of any problem, you can log out of all your devices remotely.

Which one to choose?

In my experience, I can tell you that it took me time to convince my family and closest friends to use Telegram to communicate on a day-to-day basis. Fortunately, the popularity of Telegram has been growing remarkably and it is easier to find a good number of contacts on the platform, although it is still far from the number of WhatsApp users.

But if Telegram is far away, Signal is even more so, since it is not even among the 10 most used messaging applications in the world, and the company has not shared official user figures so far.

When it comes to privacy, Signal has the backing of important people and is clearly the strongest option in this area, especially since its end-to-end encryption is configured by default in all types of conversations available within the application.

At the level of functions, Telegram is even much more complete than WhatsApp, it has options for almost everything: from image editor to use of bots. It has a very interesting function that allows users to hide their phone numbers so that only their alias is known in public groups and not other personal data.

Everyone will have their reasons, but if privacy is vital in your work or day to day, Signal is probably the best option. If you want something more “fun”, with several privacy and security options, and with more users to chat with, Telegram is the app you are looking for.

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