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Is it time to try Signal or Telegram?

(Image credit: Signal)

If you're among the WhatsApp users suddenly pondering the fate of your messaging systems but struggling to decide between Telegram and Signal - good. It is great that you have had the wool pulled from your eyes and you can now clearly see how Facebook is mining your data for profit. 

Despite the initial rumours that WhatsApp will share all users personal data with Facebook, the company confirmed that this will only be for WhatsApp business users. However, don't let this statement fool you, it is high time to uncouple yourself from this overbearing, tech monopoly and take back your privacy. 

Many others have already started jumping ship, at least when it comes to their messaging app. According to data analytics site Signal Tower, since Thursday, January 7, 100,000 users installed Signal worldwide while another 2.2 million downloads were recorded for Telegram. 

Signal got an especially good boost from the likes of tech celebrities such as Edward Snowden and Elon Musk who tweeted out promotions of the privacy-focused platform. 

However, if you're wanting to take your online security and privacy more seriously, then you can't just delete WhatsApp. As a result of Facebook's great ability to monopolise, nay, acquire, other tech competitors, just deleting WhatsApp won't mean your privacy is protected. 

So if you're considering a switch, it is also time to get off Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat as these sites are all owned by Facebook. By managing to get out the strong grip of the company that has built a profit on your very existence, you are likely to feel a little freer and far off in the future probably a little safer. 

So which one then? 

Well, it is ultimately up to you and your circle which app you move to as you want to be where people can contact you. However, if you're wanting to pick the safest option, then taking advice from the man who put his life on the line for data privacy, Edward Snowden, is probably a good idea. 

Signal is built of the principles of data privacy with end-to-end encryption the basis of the platform. This is the open-source encryption programme WhatsApp uses and since its open-source you can have a look over it yourself if you understand code. 

The interface is a bit frustrating after you've gotten used to WhatsApp for all these years but humans adapt fast and so you're likely to get used to it fairly quickly. 

Telegram, which also encrypted, has a lot more shortfalls. The interface is a bit better but it is also a known hub for extremists and somewhat lax security issues. 

Most recently, Telegram groups have been the site of great scandals including a deepfake nude ring and a location glitch which makes it possible for people to triangulate your position. 

Leila Stein

Leila Stein is an experienced multimedia journalist and content producer with a special interest in data journalism. she is skilled in news writing, editing, online writing and multimedia content production and have a Bachelor of Journalism  from Rhodes University and an Honours in Historical Studies from University of Cape Town.