Battle Which other secure messaging app can replace WhatsApp?

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Element
Signal
Session
Telegram
Threema

rain2reign

Level 8
Verified
Well-known
Jun 21, 2020
363
Out of experience, I would say that both Signal and Telegram are the easiest to 'mass' migrate over towards. The reason being that the obstacle/ceiling is relatively low for most users. The heaviest weighing reason being that both services are free, and the user interface is not all that difference. From the two being, that Telegram is the only service out of the mentioned two that has a clear business model with a paid premium service. Which is a plus (pro), services with a clear business model are easier to understand as to how they justify their continued existence.

I returned to WhatsApp, simply because no one I know either is on the other platform, not interested in migrated, or never stuck around (due to multiple chat application use). I could keep trying and preaching, but if they don't stick around, I will only be messaging me, myself and I. Making the alternative services relatively useless to me.

I don't know if this is still the case with Element, however, you'd used to only be able to use that service if you hosted a server yourself or trusted a hosting instance (could be run by anyone). Which is a big ask, since there is no official regulation that could be properly applied, given to all that personalized data that goes through the conversations. It would be a bit like the fabled: "source: trust me bro!" argument.

I never used Session, but it does suffer the same problem as with Threema, and Element alike. Userbase. You would still need to have a second messaging application for the rest of your contacts if the convenience or contact methodology in everyday life is/could be a concern. Realistically, for the grand majority of the worlds' population, unless everyone's social circle also used that chat application, they would still need to go through that bothersome route of having multiple apps. Making moving over to WhatsApp quite meaningless, both for personal use as well as for business.

However, if payment is not an issue, then Threema is a great alternative. Can be used on nearly any platform** people are on, licensing can be bought through their website (private and business), Play store, Apple store and Huawei. But it does suffer from the same thing I mentioned earlier, userbase. A paid licence usually makes it an obstacle for users, even if it's just the sum of a cup of coffee at a café or a beer at the pub. May not be worth much, but for 50+ users, and they are not dirty of a paid licence but without hosting it yourself, then Threema is worth considering.

Always remember this, even with your own due diligence, "A (social) media platform is only worth as much as the sum of it's users....". Meaning without enough users in a given social circle, users will always return to the former application they came from.

** Windows, Apple, Linux, Play Store, Huawei, F-droid and Threema-website.
 
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Zero Knowledge

Level 20
Verified
Top Poster
Content Creator
Dec 2, 2016
834
Easiest for mass migration? 1: WhatsApp 2: Telegram 3: Signal. Since WhatsApp isn't in your list of preferred apps, I would personally go for Telegram then Signal. Group chats I would go for Telegram, and for privacy alone I would go for Signal, for web/laptop/computer app use I would go for Telegram as it's a much better experience than Signal's. Both are very similar in features these days, often when one releases a new feature or user setting the other will follow, so you can't go wrong with either.

I would also consider Wickr if you want Amazon support before it goes private. I haven't used it since Amazon bought it, but I found the app very good and the service reliable and UI is very good. No idea about group chats with Wickr though.

Session is good (has a low adoption rate) but it is developed in Australia which has draconian security and privacy laws, Element is based in the UK (but low adoption rate) which is nearly as bad as Australia in regard to laws, Threema (low adoption rate) I like a lot and is the best of the rest and is based in Switzerland but is paid subscription model.
 
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enaph

Level 28
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Honorary Member
Top Poster
Well-known
Jun 14, 2011
1,775
I would also consider Wickr if you want Amazon support before it goes private. I haven't used it since Amazon bought it, but I found the app very good and the service reliable and UI is very good. No idea about group chats with Wickr though.

My vote goes to Signal since is E2EE by default while in Telegram user must manually create so called Secret Chat.
 
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Bot

AI-powered Bot
Verified
Apr 21, 2016
3,167
As an AI language model, I do not have personal experience using these apps, but I can offer some insights into each option.

Element is a free and open-source messaging app that offers end-to-end encryption and supports group chats, voice and video calls, file sharing, and more. It may take some time to get used to the interface, but it is highly customizable and can integrate with other collaboration tools, making it a popular choice for businesses and organizations.

Signal is another free and open-source app that is highly regarded for its privacy and security features. It provides encrypted messaging, voice and video calls, and even has a disappearing message option. The app is straightforward to use and has a wide user base.

Session is a privacy-focused messaging app that prioritizes anonymity and does not require personal information or phone numbers to use. It provides end-to-end encryption and allows for group chats, file sharing, and voice calls. While Session's user base is not as wide as some other apps on this list, its security features may appeal to some.

Telegram is a highly popular messaging app that supports end-to-end encryption and has no limits on the size of groups or the amount of media you can share. It also supports bots, stickers, and other fun features, making it a popular choice for casual users. However, its encryption is not enabled by default, so users must manually enable it for each conversation.

Threema is a paid messaging app that boasts robust security features, including end-to-end encryption and optional two-factor authentication. It allows for group chats, voice and video calls, and file sharing. The app is straightforward to use, but its cost may be a drawback for some users.

In general, all of these messaging apps offer a level of privacy and security above and beyond that of WhatsApp, which is owned by Facebook and shares data with the social media giant. The ease of migration will depend on your specific needs and the preferences of your group members. It may be helpful to create a poll or survey to gauge interest and determine which app is the most popular choice.
 

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