Home Deep DiveArticles Is Signal V/s. WhatsApp = Security V/s. Fancy Features

Is Signal V/s. WhatsApp = Security V/s. Fancy Features

by R Manoj

With the recent WhatsApp privacy policy controversy, certain users are caught between the fancy features of WhatsApp and security features of Signal app. Read on to know more…

WhatsApp has been facing criticism for its updated terms of service slated to go into effect from February 8, 2021. The new privacy policy tweaks how the platform processes user data when a WhatsApp business account is involved and shares it with Facebook. Users are moving to alternatives like Signal and Telegram. According to Sensor Tower, Signal has seen 2.3 million new downloads between January 6 and January 10.

However, before we decide the next course of action over choosing a IM app, let’s compare certain security and fancy features of Signal app and WhatsApp.

Unique Security Features
In terms of user privacy, Signal offers the most secured form of communication you can get on the internet. What’s amazing about Signal app is the extent of micro level privacy and security features it offers to its users. For instance, WhatsApp displays the online and last seen status of live or active users on the platform. However, Signal does not display online status or last seen, and also gives users the option to disable typing indicators. There is no way you can do that on WhatsApp.

Signal by default encrypts all the local files with a 4-digit passphrase. Signal app also allows users to relay their voice calls to app servers to conceal their contacts’ identity. These security and privacy features are not available in WhatsApp.

Fancy Features
If one was to compare the User Interface (UI) of WhatsApp with Signal app, there’s no doubt that WhatsApp wins hand down. For example, WhatsApp has an extensive set of sticker packs. The stickers available on Signal are limited against the plethora of stickers present on WhatsApp. WhatsApp also has user status updates that Signal lacks as it does not support status updates.

If you are one of those people who sends ‘Good morning’ messages to your broadcast list, then you might be disappointed, as this feature is only exclusively provided by WhatsApp. Features such as option to bookmark messages by marking them as Star, quickly add any contact by just scanning a QR code, are some of the fancy feaures exclusively available to WhatsApp.

WhatsApp recently introduced the option of custom chat wallpapers. The custom chat wallpapers feature allows users to set different wallpapers for different chats. WhatsApp says that by making your chats distinguishable, users will never worry about sending messages to the wrong chat. This option is missing in the Signal app.

Ground Reality
The Signal app absolutely scores above WhatsApp is in the privacy category. While Signal is being considered the gold standard of privacy for private conversations, it does not come with the fancy features of WhatsApp. Now, even as some users have started switching to alternatives like Signal, they will miss some of WhatsApp’s fancy features that Signal does not have. If a user’s priority is security and privacy — then the Signal app is the right choice. Having said that, on the other hand — if the users opt for the fancy User Interface and other features such as integrated payment system, then they are free to choose WhatsApp over Signal app.

Conclusion
Even after WhatsApp has clarified that the update does not affect individual chats, users are still confused around the privacy policy. On the other side, the terms of service and privacy policy of Signal app have very little data to deal with and these data is protected by strong encryption. The only personal data Signal app stores is your phone number. In fact, the developers of Signal app claim that even they cannot decipher and access the encrypted messages, recipients, groups, profile photos and metadata.

Today, most of the online users are becoming more aware and educated about digital privacy, safety and security. And this is good because as a virtual society, all of us are evolving together.

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