WhatsApp alternatives: These chat apps are secure and free

Recently, the Facebook-owned instant messaging application WhatsApp updated its terms of service and privacy policy, effective from February 8. The new terms of service detail how the chat application will use the data of its users and share it with Facebook. 

This update poses privacy issues for WhatsApp users, as it will allow the messaging app to share data such as IP address, browser details, location, phone number, signal strength, phone battery level, etc with its parent company Facebook as well as its subsidiaries. 

Users have until February 8, 2021 to agree to the revised terms and policy, otherwise, they will not be able to use WhatsApp services. Following this news, WhatsApp users are looking for the best alternatives to WhatsApp. Here are some WhatsApp alternatives that are secure and can be used for free:

Signal

Signal App

Signal is developed as part of the Signal Foundation, a non-profit foundation. The app is said to be the most secure, open source, and peer-reviewed messaging platform. The application does not collect any data, does not link your phone number to your identity and the app’s list page on Apple App Store indicates that the application does not use any data associated with you.

A cross-platform encrypted messaging service, Signal is available for Android, iOS and other operating systems. It provides end-to-end encryption for messages as well as media shared between users.

Telegram

Telegram

Similar to WhatsApp, Telegram is not as secure as Signal. The chat app with Russian parantage collects name, phone number, contacts, and user ID. Telegram offers the option of having local storage with encryption for chats. It provides two layers of security encryption that lets users to have client-to-cloud encryption of their private and group conversations, while secret chats are encrypted client-to-client.

With cloud-based operations, Telegram was launched in 2013 and was a venture of two Russian brothers – Nikolai and Pavel Durov. Pavel Durov is currently the majority owner and CEO of Telegram.

Hike Messenger

Kavin Bharti Mittal launched the Indian freeware, cross-platform instant messaging application on December 12, 2012.  Unlike other instant messaging apps, Hike works offline via SMS and is cross-platform compatible. 

It recently introduced HikeLand, a mobile-first app accessible through its messaging platform. The startup, funded by Tiger Global and Softbank, also offers stickers and game features. It allows users to create a group of up to 500 members.

The ‘Hidden Mode’ allows users to hide their private chats and access them using a passcode. With Hike, users can share files in any format: ZIP, MP3, MP4, documents, etc. up to 100MB per file.