Signal vs WhatsApp
Image Source: TechUntold

WhatsApp is the most widely used messaging app in the world which extends its services to over 2 billion monthly active users. Following WhatsApp, the Telegram app accounts for over 400 million users while Signal stands at a proximity of 10-20 million monthly active users around the world. Barely looking at the stats would indicate that WhatsApp is a highly popular application and almost omnipresent while Signal seems to have just entered into the million downloads race. However, the number can not narrate the entire story, hence the comparison of the two Signal vs WhatsApp application’s security and features is a must.

What is Signal?

Signal vs WhatsApp
Image Source: DNA India

The signal is a messaging application available in several countries including India. The application is developed in the United States by Signal Foundation. Signal application is available on both Apple App Store and Google Play Store. As per the reports, due to the spike in demand for alternatives of WhatsApp in India, Signal Application has ranked in the list of top chatting apps on App Store and Google Play Store. The corporation affirms that Signal is a safe and secure messaging application to use, unlike WhatsApp.  All information exchanged on the Signal app is end to end encrypted.

Why is SIGNAL trending in INDIA?

Signal application attained popularity in India soon after the most widely used application WhatsApp disclosed its newly updated privacy policy. The updated privacy policy of WhatsApp states that it shares some of the user data with its parent company Facebook. The WhatsApp users seemed quite unhappy with its updated privacy policy and that is how Signal Application gained popularity and came to be the talk of the town. Even Elon Musk, Tesla CEO in his recent tweets asked his followers to switch to the Signal application. Alongside the Signal application, Telegram is also being considered as an alternative to WhatsApp by the users in India.

Signal vs WhatsApp: What is better?

It is hard to choose the better one between Signal vs WhatsApp at this point as WhatsApp is used by users worldwide and is one of the most popular messaging applications in the world. The WhatsApp application has become a part of our daily lives and switching to some other application is going to be a difficult task. However, it is a fact that many WhatsApp users in India have switched to the Signal application over time.

Switching to Signal should be easy as both WhatsApp and Signal have similar user interfaces and encompasses features that are quite similar to each other. In recent months, the Signal application has been downloaded by millions of Indian users.

Here’s what users should choose between Signal vs WhatsApp where privacy is biggest concern:

1. Signal comprises of various up to date security features

Signal brings up updates in security features more significantly and rapidly. For instance, the disappearing message feature which enables automatic deletion of messages after a specified time exits on Signal since 2016, however, WhatsApp is still in the testing phase of this feature with its users.

Other beta and mainstream features present on Signal which WhatsApp does not have include encrypted profiles, view-once media messages, an incognito keyboard switch for Android users to refrain google keyboard from sending users’ typing history back to google.

2. Signal is an Open Source

Signal has published all its source code for anyone to examine and validate under an AGPLv3 license for the server and a GPLv3 license for its clients. This enables its users to assess what’s going on in the application.

3. Signal application has slight potential for hidden susceptibility

As a larger platform, the WhatsApp application is more tempting to malicious activities, to begin with, but the certainty that its codebase is a proprietary closed box means that it may take immense time for severe susceptibility to being detected. Any mobile application can and ultimately will endure vulnerabilities – The signal application has resolved a few of its own.

But WhatsApp’s closed source code means that there are a number of potential dangers that remain unknown until they are exploited.

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Signal VS WhatsApp: Concerns over WhatsApp’s new policy

Signal vs WhatsApp
Image Source: Feel Press Journal

WhatsApp’s updated privacy policy has kicked up a storm among its users. There have been vital concerns regarding the data collection policy of the messaging app which is quite huge as compared to the other applications. WhatsApp will now be sharing significant data with its parent company Facebook which has generated security questions regarding users’ privacy.

Many WhatsApp users are thinking to ditch WhatsApp and shift to the Signal app after the modifications in WhatsApp’s privacy policy. The WhatsApp application has been endorsed by famous personalities like American Whistleblower Edward Snowden, Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey, and Oscar-winning filmmaker and journalist Laura Poitras.

With the thriving anxieties, there has been hum about shifting to other applications like Signal and Telegram. Elon Musk, Tesla’s CEO tweet “Use Signal” has also ushered to landslide signup for Signal Application which claims to be the most private messaging application that does not collect any user data as per the privacy policy accentuated on the Apple app store.

Switch to Signal – A Privacy Concentrated Messaging Application

The Signal is popular privacy concentrated messaging application that is widely preferred by privacy researchers, journalists, security experts, and academicians around the globe. The protocol of Signal further underpins WhatsApp’s end to end encryption, although the fundamental distinction is that Signal is open source while WhatsApp is not open-source.

The app store reveals that the Signal application amasses similar data followed by the WhatsApp. The list of user data that both the applications collect includes users’ location, purchase history, phone number, contacts, email address, financial information, and data usage.

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Facebook Messenger in addition to these collects videos, photos, audio data, browsing history, and other susceptible information.

As compared to Messenger or WhatsApp, Signal collects no other data from the user. The only personal data Signal app stores are users’ phone numbers and do not link them to users’ identity. Whereas the Telegram application stores users’ contact information, user ID, and contact numbers which are still limited as compared to the information Facebook owner Mark Zuckerberg’s company collects.

In a recent announcement, WhatsApp gave a deadline till 8th February 2021 to its 400 million Indian users in India to adopt and accept the new updated policy of WhatsApp or delete their accounts. In the days to come, it will be fascinating to see whether the Signal application will be able to make the Indian users switch from WhatsApp to Signal or not in Signal vs WhatsApp war.

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