The Biggest Differences Between Signal & Facebook Messenger

What to know if you're thinking of making the switch.

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After WhatsApp released new privacy guidelines in January, people are reconsidering their messaging apps. While Facebook, WhatsApp's parent company, is bulking up Messenger's features, many are switching to apps like Signal. Here are the biggest differences between the two apps.

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Signal's Default Is End-To-End Encryption

With end-to-end encryption, your message is only decryptable by the recipient. While Facebook's Secret Conversations feature enables end-to-end encryption, it's not Facebook Messenger's default setting.

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Facebook Has Opt-In End-To-End Encryption Features

In addition to Secret Conversations, Facebook's new Vanish Mode offers end-to-end encryption, though neither are default settings. Like Snapchat, Facebook's disappearing messages only save to your device and erase when viewed.

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Signal Links Less Info To You

Facebook Messenger is notorious for collecting a lot of personal data like in-app search history, coarse location, and contacts. Despite backlash, Facebook has defended its data collection. The only info Signal collects is your phone number.

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Signal Has An Incognito Keyboard Mode

Andriod users have the option to enable Signal's incognito keyboard feature, which helps protect your data against someone monitoring your keystrokes.

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You Can't Group Chat As Many People On Messenger

While Messenger only lets you chat 150 people at once, Signal's group chat feature can support groups of up to 1,000 people. However, Facebook Messenger Rooms allow up to 50 people on a video call; Signal's limit is eight.


Signal Is Owned By A Non-Profit

While Facebook makes money through ad sales and anonymized data, Signal operates on donations. However, Signal was initially funded by billionaire backer Brian Acton, who co-founded WhatsApp. Signal is now owned by a non-profit.

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App Popularity Matters

Signal's privacy features, while deemed more secure by some experts, are only effective if the people you message are on the app, too. Though Signal's users continue to grow, Facebook Messenger is still one of the most commonly-used messaging apps worldwide.

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