Tech

The Major Differences Between Signal & Telegram

What to keep in mind if you're thinking about switching from WhatsApp.

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Many folks are switching to Signal and Telegram messaging apps after WhatsApp released an updated terms of service agreement regarding how data is shared with its parent company Facebook. Wondering how Signal and Telegram are different from WhatsApp? Here's what you need to know.

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Elon Musk gave Signal a boost in a tweet on Jan. 7, just days after Whatsapp released its new privacy policy. The messaging app has also been endorsed by Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey and NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden.

Signal Links Less Info To You

Signal only links your phone number to you. Telegram links your name, number, contact list, and user ID. Both have significantly less info on you than WhatsApp, which collects info like ad data and physical location.

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Telegram's Default Isn't End-to-End Encrypted Messaging

Unlike other apps, you need to opt-in to Telegram's "secret chat" to send messages only decryptable by the recipient. However, it only applies to messages between two devices; group messaging is saved to the platform's cloud.

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Signal Has Better Security

While WhatsApp lets you opt-in to cloud storage, Signal doesn't have the option to save chat history to the cloud. Based on its default to saving messages to the cloud, Telegram is less "secure" than both. Of the three, only Signal is fully open-source.

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Telegram Has More Robust Features

Telegram allows up to 200,000 users in a group chat; Signal only allows up to 1,000. You can transfer files up to 2 GB in size, 20x more than Signal's 100 MB limit. Telegram also has features like message sync and bots.

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Billionaires Are Involved With Both

Telegram is mostly funded by social media billionaire Pavel Durov. Signal, now funded by the nonprofit Signal Foundation, got $50 million in backing from WhatsApp cofounder Brian Acton.

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So, Should You Switch From WhatsApp?

It depends on what you want from your messaging platform. Whether you're looking for more privacy, better security, or to break ties from Facebook, the key is understanding what encrypted messaging can and can't do to protect your data.

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