WhatsApp vs Signal: the data one collects and the other does not

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Whatsapp

WhatsApp is the most popular messaging application in the world, with more than 2 billion users using this Facebook platform regularly – according to data from Statista. On the other hand, Signal is one of the fastest growing.

In addition to Telegram, Signal is an alternative to WhatsApp, but it can be said that Signal is really the most respectful of user data. If you don’t want your metadata to be shared with other companies, choose Signal.

WhatsApp is the dominant platform, but there are good alternatives

Whatsapp

Depending on the importance they can give to the collection, sharing and processing of data by WhatsApp and the Facebook group, they may or may not consider switching to one of the alternatives, such as millions of users looking for more measured platforms.

Signal received the approval of Edward Snowden and praise from Elon Musk, among other public figures, being a platform that, in addition to the last login date and account creation date, knows little or nothing about the user, unlike the Whatsapp.

It is important to clarify that WhatsApp uses end-to-end encryption – like Signal – and that neither platform has access to the content of the conversations, calls, or groups. It is not these data that are in question.

The information WhatsApp collects and Signal does not

  • Phone number
  • User ID
  • Contacts – Phonebook
  • Account name
  • Approximate location
  • Email / email address
  • Transactions and Payment Data
  • Interaction with products
  • Status Information
  • Usage and Registration Information
  • Device and connection information
  • Service failure information – Customer Support and Other Communications

Particularly comprehensive is the collection of information about devices and connections. WhatsApp knows (1) hardware model, (two) operating system, (3) the battery level, (4) signal strength, (5) version of the application, (6) browser information, (7) mobile network, (8) connection information, including mobile phone number, (9) mobile operator or ISP, (10) the language and time zone, (11) IP adress, (12) device and identifier operations (including identifiers unique to Facebook Business Products associated with the same device or account).

These are the metadata collected by WhatsApp and not collected by Signal. There is a significant difference in the amount of information that the Facebook group company has about the user. The “winner” – in terms of privacy – is Signal.

WhatsApp Signal

WhatsApp’s justification for collecting this user data

“WhatsApp must receive or collect some information in order for it to function, provide, improve, understand, personalize, support and advertise our Services, even when you install, access or use them. The types of information we receive and we collect depend on how you use our Services. “, can be read on the WhatsApp FAQ page.

With regard to this data collection, the global head of the platform, Will Cathcart, in a recent interview, admitted sharing metadata with Facebook since 2016. He justified this with the fighting spam and mass messaging.

It can also be said that WhatsApp offers more features than Signal, namely support for more participants in a group call – up to 50 people. Signal also allows you to make group calls, but with fewer participants.

Likewise, only WhatsApp allows you to make payments and, in a different vein, the sharing of stickers animated to streamline a conversation.

Signal

On the other hand, there are also unique features at Signal. Functions such as confidential sender, advanced privacy controls that disable even keyboard learning. Signal’s FAQ page details data processing.

Without forgetting the possibility of deleting messages sent after a certain time. There are several granular controls in Signal’s options for those who need them.

Signal is focused on privacy, WhatsApp, versatility and general use

In both cases, conversations and shared content are safe. However, there are differences in the interface of each application, with Signal being more focused on the exchange of messages, with features that make this communication very private.

WhatsApp adds several services and functions that make it extremely dynamic, easy to use and captivating. It is the most used platform in the world for good reason, adding features that allow it to be used by more users.

Sharing multimedia files is another strength of WhatsApp, making it more intuitive to publish photos, videos, or sound clips and music. Something that is also available on Signal, but that appears more naturally in the company of the Facebook group.

In summary, it is up to the user to choose the platform that best reflects their usage pattern and responds to their needs. To those looking for solutions that are more respectful of privacy, we must point to Signal.

On the other hand, for most users WhatsApp remains the best choice. This is also where, for now, most of your contacts will be present, a decisive factor when using a communications platform.

In specific cases, Signal will be the right option – for more sensitive communications. As for talking to family and friends, or large groups, WhatsApp is more engaging, being equally secure in the communications made.

Get more out of this messaging service:

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