Now, as all apps require what kind of data is harvested from your device, a report by
Forbes went through two of the most popular messaging apps– WhatsApp and Messenger– both Facebook products. For the sake of comparison, the report by
Forbes also considered Signal and iMessage. Signal is a relatively lesser-known messaging app in India. But what is important to note is that Signal offers all the features of WhatsApp.
For those unaware, the co-founder of WhatsApp– Brian Acton– left the company after Facebook acquired it. He then moved ahead to create the Signal Foundation with Moxie Marlinspike. The Signal messaging app is like what WhatsApp used to be earlier and offers better privacy. There is end-to-end encryption by default powered by the open source Signal Protocol. So, here’s a comparison carried out by
Forbes about the amount of data collected by WhatsApp, Signal and Facebook Messenger…
Signal- Private Messenger
Data collected: None. Signal only needs your mobile number for registration but the report claims that the app doesn’t link your phone number to your identity.
Data collected: Email address, Phone number, Search history, Device ID
Data collected: Device ID, User ID, Advertising Data, Purchase History, Coarse Location, Phone Number, Email Address, Contacts, Product Interaction, Crash Data, Performance Data, Other Diagnostic Data, Payment Info, Customer Support, Product Interaction, Other User, Content.
Note: WhatsApp is also known to collect user metadata which its hasn’t provided much clarity.
For Facebook Messenger, the list is just too long and includes almost all types of personal user data an app can possibly collect.
Data collected: Third-Party Advertising, Purchase History, Financial Info, Precise Location, Coarse Location, Physical Address, Email Address, Name, Phone Number, Other User Contact Info, Contacts, Photos or Videos, Gameplay Content, Other User Content, Search History, Browsing History, User ID, Device ID, Product Interaction, Advertising Data, Other Usage Data, Crash Data, Performance Data, Other Diagnostic Data, Other Data Types, Developer’s, Advertising or Marketing, Health, Fitness, Payment Info, Sensitive Info, Product Personalization, Credit Info, Other Financial Info, Emails or Text Messages.