We’ve ranked 11 companies that run the world’s most popular messaging apps – including Skype, Snapchat and Facebook Messenger – on how well they’re using encryption to protect your online privacy.
In particular, we’ve looked at whether they apply end-to-end encryption – a way of making your photos, videos and chats unintelligible to anyone but you and the people you’re talking to. This is how they fared.
Are you looking for an excellent messaging and socializing app for iPhone? “Messaging apps depend on widespread use for their success, and nobody likes bouncing between apps to send simple messages to friends,” he said. Any new player that hopes to beat WeChat and disrupt the market will need to be completely different, Zhao added.
WhatsApp currently has over two billion users and is one of the most popular instant messaging apps. The app allows users to chat with each other, make voice calls, make video calls, send media. Aug 12, 2020 WhatsApp currently has over two billion users and is one of the most popular instant messaging apps. The app allows users to chat with each other, make voice calls, make video calls, send media files, add stories, and much more. The app is available on both Apple ’s App Store and the Google Play Store, free of cost.
Please note that this is an assessment of each company’s key policies and practices in relation to encryption. We have not assessed other privacy aspects of the apps or their overall security. If you’re a journalist or activist, or if you believe you might be personally targeted for electronic surveillance, you need a comprehensive digital security plan. Please consult a digital security expert and do not rely on any one app to protect your information.
Facebook, whose instant messaging apps Messenger and WhatsApp together have 2 billion users, is doing the most to use encryption to respond to human rights threats, and is most transparent about the action it’s taking. WhatsApp is the only app where users are explicitly warned when end-to-end encryption is not applied to a particular chat, but Messenger does not apply end-to-end encryption as a default, and does not warn users that regular conversations use a weaker form of encryption.
Score 73 / 100
Apple’siMessage and Facetime apps scored 67 out of 100, providing full end-to-end encryption by default. Apple has also taken a public stance against “encryption backdoors”, and discloses government requests for government data. However the company should do more to notify users within the apps themselves about when their information is protected through end-to-end encryption and when it is not (for example when you send a message to a non-iPhone user).
Score 67 / 100
Telegram Messenger is a messaging app with 100 million monthly active users. It brands itself as a secure messaging app and takes a strong stance on protecting users’ privacy and freedom of expression. It’s therefore surprising that the company does not put in end-to-end encryption as a default, and users receive no warning when they are using weaker encryption.
Score 67 / 100
Wechat App Web
Google’s messaging apps are Allo, Duo and Hangouts. There is end-to-end encryption on Duo but it’s only optional on Allo, and Hangouts doesn’t have it at all. Google does disclose government requests for data and has taken a public stance against “encryption backdoors” which would unlock devices or apps and allow governments to access personal data.
Score 53 / 100
The Line mobile messaging service has more than 200 million active daily users, with the majority in Japan, Indonesia, Thailand and Taiwan. The app scored full marks for providing end-to-end encryption by default in all communication on their messaging apps, but does not do enough to inform users about threats to human rights, and does not publish a transparency report.
Score 47/ 100
The Viber messaging app has 700 million registered users and almost 250 million active daily users. The company scored full marks for providing end-to-end encryption by default in all communication. But it does not publish a transparency report, or disclose full details of how it is implementing encryption.
Score 47 / 100
The South Korean company owns KakaoTalk, an app with a reported 49 million active monthly users. In October 2014, the company came under significant pressure following reports it had given the South Korean government information about its users. The company subsequently took steps to strengthen its level of encryption, but it is not applying end-to-end encryption as a default
Score 40 / 100
Microsoft has owned Skype since 2011, and the voice and video calling service now has 300 million active users. Skype has been a major target of government surveillance worldwide. Despite Microsoft’s strong policy commitment to human rights, it is still using a weak form of encryption on Skype.
Score 40 / 100
The US-based service is used by more than 100 million people every day. Although it has a strong policy commitment towards privacy, in practice it does not do enough to protect its users’ privacy. It does not deploy end-to-end encryption and needs to do more to inform users about how the company is tackling threats to their rights – particularly as Snapchat’s ‘disappearing’ messages may give users a false sense of privacy.
Score 26 / 100
Blackberry Messenger is reported to have 100 million users, and only offers end-to-end encryption as a paid subscription service. It has made no public commitment to freedom of expression, and does not publish a transparency report.
Score 20 / 100
Tencent owns the two most popular messaging apps in China, WeChat and QQ, and is bottom of our message privacy scorecard, scoring zero out of 100. Not only did it fail to adequately meet any of the criteria, but it was the only company which has not stated publicly that it will not grant government requests to access encrypted messages by building a “backdoor”.
Score 0 / 100
What it means
How To Message On Wechat
Our communications are under constant threat from cybercriminals, malicious hackers, and unjustified spying by state authorities. Young people, activists and journalists who share personal details over messaging apps are especially at risk.
Many of us trust these apps with intimate details of our personal life. Companies that fail to take basic steps to protect our communications are failing that trust.
What we’re calling for
Amnesty International is calling on companies to apply end-to-end encryption as a default. It is also calling on technology companies to clearly inform users of the level of encryption applied to their messaging services.
Wechat App Apk
The government of India recently implemented a ban on 59 Chinese apps, including TikTok, ShareIt, UC Browser, Likee, WeChat and more. The reason provided by the government states, that these apps were “prejudicial to sovereignty and integrity of India, defence of India, the security of the state and public order.”
WeChat was a popular instant messaging platform like Hike and Telegram had a lot of users in the country. Now all these users have been left stranded and need another instant messaging platform to shift their conversations to. This is why we have decided to list a number of WeChat alternatives for you to take a look at.
WhatsApp currently has over two billion users and is one of the most popular instant messaging apps. The app allows users to chat with each other, make voice calls, make video calls, send media files, add stories, and much more. The app is available on both Apple’s App Store and the Google Play Store, free of cost.
TelegramThe biggest upper hand it has, is that it allows users to create a group chat with up to 200, 000 members. (Image: Reuters)
Telegram is also one of the most popular instant messaging apps currently available with over 400 million daily active users. It is also one of the most secure messaging apps with 256-bit symmetric AES encryption, 2048-bit RSA encryption and Diffie–Hellman secure key exchange. It sports a clutter free UI and a simple chatting experience. The biggest upper hand it has, is that it allows users to create a group chat with up to 200, 000 members.
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Hike Sticker Chat
Hike is a made in India alternative to WeChat, with a lot of the similar features. It is one of the most popular instant messaging apps in India, after WhatsApp and Telegram. It comes with interesting features like hidden chats, HikeMoji, HikeLand, watching content together and more. Just like WhatsApp, it can also let people text each other, send and recieve media files, video call, and more.
Wechat Messaging Apps Whatsapp
Line can do all the things most other instant messaging apps like WhatsApp, Hike and more can do. However, it does have a few tricks up its sleeves, like allowing users to make international calls to phones and landlines at relatively low rates. It also allows the user to select a theme based on their mood.
MessengerIt now even allows users to hold video conferences with up to 50 members at once. (Image: Facebook)
Messaging Apps For Android
Messenger by Facebook lets you connect and chat with all of your Facebook friends and even perform video calls, voice calls and play mini games with them. It now even allows users to hold video conferences with up to 50 members at once.
Wechat Messaging Apps
If you are more frequent at chatting with friends but do not want any old messages to be dug out of the grave, Snapchat is the app for you. It helps you live in the moment and once a message is seen it is gone forever, whether it be a photo or a text. It was the first app to introduce Stories that disappear in 24 hours and just like most other instant messaging apps allows you to video call your friends. The app also lets you play mini-games and stay entertained.