How do WhatsApp and Telegram use your data?
With the introduction of Apple’s new privacy labels, consumers are now able to assess exactly what user data messaging apps collect from their activity; a fundamental component for users' data security and protection. The privacy policies can unveil important information such as the types of data collected from each app and how exactly this is being used by its developers.
How WhatsApp uses your data
Alongside storing basic data such as your phone number and having access to your contacts, WhatsApp tracks its users’ location, analyses their habits, accesses their blocked contacts and more so as to optimise performance. You can see the full list for yourself by clicking Request Account Info within the Account section of your WhatsApp settings.
How Telegram uses your data
By default, Telegram does not use end-to-end encryption, meaning that (at least in theory) Telegram could access its users’ messages when in default mode.
However, end-to-end encryption can be manually activated by enabling Secret Chats. Once Secret Chats has been authorised, users’ data is secure and they can benefit from all the usual features of end-to-end encryption. Users also have the ability to prevent messages from being forwarded and the option of putting their messages on self-destruct mode when Secret Chats is switched on.
As the name would indicate, self-destructing messages are messages that can be set to delete themselves after a set period of time.
WhatsApp authorises users to send self-destructing messages to add an additional layer of protection and security when communicating on the app. This self-destructing feature enables the message to remain visible for a maximum of 7 days.
To enable this:
• Open up the respective WhatsApp chat
• Press the chosen contact’s name
• Tap the Disappearing Messages option to trigger the 7 day, self-destruct feature.
There are a few things to remember with this option. If, for some reason, the recipient of the disappearing message decides not to open the WhatsApp chat, the message will still be visible within the notification bar. Moreover, any disappearing messages that are forwarded when the feature is off won’t be erased.
Telegram also permits its users to send self-destructing or disappearing messages, so long as users have enabled Secret Chats.
Animated stickers and GIFs
For anyone unfamiliar with the sticker or GIF phenomenon, these messaging features are animated images that are a much easier way of expressing emotion without even having to type a single word. They are typically built in to most social media apps' operating systems with a vast collection to choose from. Whether you’re happy, angry or want to find a trending emotion that correlates with a message, a GIF or animated sticker can be the perfect asset to many conversations.
Animated stickers and GIFs are compatible on the WhatsApp messaging platform. They appear alongside the normal sticker packs in the Sticker Store and are available on both Android and iOS devices.
There are a few drawbacks to the overall capacity of the stickers, particularly when compared to Telegram. This is because many animated stickers and GIFs are dynamic, so they occupy more storage than static images. What this means for users is that any animated sticker which exceeds WhatsApp’s storage limit (100MB limit for media files) will neither be sent nor forwarded to any contacts.
Another GIF aspect that can disappoint the users is that the animated stickers have the ability to play once as opposed to a continuous loop (as seen on Facebook Messenger and Telegram). In order to replay it, you will have to scroll up and down on the chat.
Telegram has introduced a new format and upgrade to its animated sticker features, coined by the app's engineers as the '.TGS' format. The benefits of these stickers for users are two-fold; fast loading times and great quality images, all whilst taking up less bandwidth on consumers' electronic devices. They use less battery and run 60 frames a second for a smooth and sleek back-and-forth communication.
The app's open platform inspires users to get artsy with their animations and create their very own stickers to share with their friends, family and beyond - surpassing the conventional emojis and GIFs found on your typical social media platforms.
Managing folders on Telegram
A major feature permitted by Telegram is its ability to sort and organise conversations into different sub-sections and folders. As active users may be part of a variety of group chats, this feature allows them to stay abreast of their messaging notifications without needing to archive them. They can simply navigate to the three-dot menu on their Telegram chats and select Add Folder to begin the compiling process.
Another interesting feature that Telegram provides is the ability to save messages for future use. As opposed to having to download the file, Telegram allows users to save the message and keep it within the platform itself. The Saved Messages chat is always displayed at the top of the list in the sharing and forwarding menus. This makes it easy to save your favourites while maintaining an organised messaging platform. Saved Messages are easy to find: they are accessible both from the Chats list and from the side panel on Android or Settings on iOS.
Both messaging platforms boast an array of features that work remarkably for their consumers. Despite WhatsApp’s enormous database of 2 billion people in over 180 countries, Telegram is a message app that is continuously on the rise, rapidly expanding in growth with over 500 million users (a 25% increase in just under a year).
Where Telegram lagged behind in terms of video calling, the latest version of the app supports both voice and video calls and can do so on multiple devices - whether it be mobile or desktop.
Undeniably, consumer concerns regarding data privacy and security are at an all-time high, which is where WhatsApp's verified end-to end encryption is a great feature that consumers are instantaneously drawn to. Although, uncertainty surrounding WhatsApp's new privacy policies in recent months has certainly propelled Telegram into a new cloud-communicating space that may not otherwise have seen such an expansion.