Messaging apps ranked by privacy: Facebook Messenger, Zoom and more

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With iOS 14.5 and iPadOS 14.5 In particular, Apple added new transparency tracking policies that app developers and publishers can follow, in an effort to help the average user understand how much private data their favorite apps collect from them.

In addition, developers must now first ask users for permission to show them targeted ads, which users may choose to refuse.

This was not surprisingly not well received by people like Facebook, a notorious user data collector. Zuckerberg’s social media network was fast becoming launches an ad campaign against Apple, claiming that the effects of Apple’s actions will hurt small businesses as they will no longer be able to show “personalized” ads to all iPhone and iPad Facebook users.

Additionally, Facebook recently even tried to use one scary tactics to get iOS users to sign up for tracking, suggesting that if not, Facebook and Instagram could possibly start charging money.

How much of your data does the best messaging app collect?

If you are a privacy conscious person, you may be interested to know how much private data the world’s most popular messaging apps collect from you and your family and link to your identities.

So let’s look at the best messaging apps in the App Store and see which ones respect your privacy, and to what extent, starting with the app that collects the least amount of your private data – Signal. What we use to determine the privacy of these apps is Apple’s new “App Privacy” section of the App Store.

Message app ordered by privacy, summarized:

  • Signal
  • Skype
  • Zoom
  • Disagreement
  • Telegram
  • WhatsApp
  • Facebook Messenger
  • TikTok

Signal

Approved by Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk, Signal is the app to use if you want to step out of the world of targeted ads.

As hard as it may sound to convince your family and friends to switch to Signal, there are hardly any feature-related disadvantages of using it. Like Facebook Messenger, it supports text messaging, photo sharing, links, recorded audio messaging, and video calling.

For an app that is entirely funded by donations and grants, as opposed to collecting and selling your private data, this is all very impressive. Signal only wants your phone number to work and it does not even link it to your identity.

Signals “App Privacy” information as it appears in the App Store:

Skype

Skype has been around for some time and therefore has a long and interesting history. Ten years ago, it was bought by Microsoft, which still owns it. And as Windows 10 users may be aware, Microsoft is not exactly keen on giving users easy options, whether it’s updates or choosing not to share any data with the giant.

Surprisingly, compared to most messaging apps, Skype seems to be nicely on par with a small amount of data it links to you, none of which is unusual. No “exact location” or anything like that.

Skype “App Privacy” information as it appears in the App Store:

Zoom

Zoom’s most important thing is video conferencing, but since it’s a super popular app right now and also supports messaging, we include it. Compared to similar ones on Facebook Messenger, Zoom works reasonably respectfully with your private data and apparently only collects what is necessary for it to work.

Things it collects about you and links to your identity that you may not know about include your exact location, device ID, and phone number.

Zoom’s “App Privacy” information as it appears in the App Store:

Disagreement

Discord is a gamer-focused chat app that revolves around user-generated communities, so that in addition to private one-to-one messaging, it offers group chats, voice chats and even video calls.

It does not collect a whole bunch of private data, but what seems reasonable for the app to work properly. In particular, it collects and links to your identity items such as your email address, search history, device ID and purchase history.

Discord’s “App Privacy” information as it appears in the App Store:

Telegram

Telegram is among the best “Social Networking” apps right now and offers a messaging experience similar to Skype or Facebook Messenger.

Data it collects from you and links to you in particular includes financial information and exact location, but overall the app seems to be pretty reasonable in its data collection.

Telegrams “App Privacy” information as it appears in the App Store:

WhatsApp Messenger

WhatsApp is one of those apps that does not seem to collect too much more than it needs. What it takes from you and links to your identity include location, your contacts and financial information. It’s not exactly Signal, but much better than Facebook Messenger.

WhatsApp’s “App Privacy” information as it appears in the App Store:

Facebook Messenger

Probably no one will be shocked that Facebook Messenger collects a ridiculous amount of data as it also links to your identity. This includes things like your exact location, phone number, physical address, device ID, purchase history, payment information, financial information and more.

Whether or not you’re cool about giving all the information to the giant that is then used by advertisers, it’s up to you and may not bother you. But if you are not comfortable sharing all your private data with giant companies, there are plenty of other messaging apps out there.

Facebook’s “App Privacy” information as it appears in the App Store:


TikTok

TikTok is currently among the biggest apps on social media, popular with teenagers and owned by the Chinese internet technology giant ByteDance. Although it is mainly a video sharing app, it also has messaging.

Maybe it’s not shocking that TikTok collects a lot of personal data in the same way as Facebook. It uses your contact information (device ID, email, phone number) to track you as well as your location, browser history, advertising data about you, financial information, physical address and more.

In relation to this recently TikTok’s parent company settled a lawsuit over its collection of minor personal information. The lawsuit claimed that TikTok “infiltrates its users’ devices and extracts a wide range of private data, including biometric data and content, which the defendant uses to track and record on behalf of teens of TikTok and younger. other than targeting ads and profits. “

In a subsequent statement, TikTok said: “While we disagree with the allegations, rather than going through lengthy litigation, we would like to focus our efforts on building a safe and joyful experience for the TikTok community.”

TikTok’s “App Privacy” information as it appears in the App Store:

What are your thoughts on app data collection?

Collecting user data used for advertising is what keeps much of the Internet free, so it is certainly not an unreasonable practice. In any case, we can not deny that Apple giving users a clear look at how much data each app collects is not a good step towards transparency.
What are your thoughts on this? Is it okay for your data to be collected if it means apps like Facebook remain free? Do you wish you had more control over your data shared with advertisers? And are you planning to switch to another messaging app? Join the conversation and let us know in the comments section below.

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