You know why WhatsApp is so popular ?! It’s where everyone is. It might be the first app most people install as soon as they get a device, at least in India. There are personal and business relations that happen via WhatsApp alone. More than 80% of my contacts are available on WhatsApp.
New policy update of WhatsApp is widely discussed everywhere, including WhatsApp statuses and groups. From what I understand, this means WhatsApp will be sharing data with its parent company, Facebook. Unlike Facebook Messenger or Telegram, WhatsApp is an end-to-end encrypted by default, so it doesn’t have access the actual communication happening between users. However, WhatsApp has access to all the communication metadata from a user device. It know when a message was sent, when calls were made, parties involved etc,. There is also case of WhatsApp Business and app groups. This is more than enought data for Facebook to target its ads.
I saw many people recommend Signal and Telegram as alternative to WhatsApp. In case of communication platform, what I will be looking is how many of my contacts are available there. When I installed Signal there were a handful of them - may be 2 or 3%. Telegram fares better, about 10% contacts are available. Next thing is backup and privacy, Due to its strong privacy, Signal has limitations on its data backup. WhatsApp stores plain text version of chat history in respective platform providers cloud solutions, which are also not interoperable. Both Signal and WhatsApp use the Signal protocol, though there are some difference in their implementation. Telegram uses a custom encryption protocal, which is off by git default.
The irony is that, some of the persons who were stongly critical of WhatsApp changes were vehement users of Facebook, Instagram and Messenger.