Messenger News: Telegram “a disaster” in terms of privacy

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Updated November 27, 2020, 12:19 p.m.

Messenger like WhatsApp, Signal or Telegram have become an integral part of our everyday lives. In this article, we’ll keep you updated on the latest features and developments in the world of short messaging.

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November 27, 2020: Telegram rattles through, testers see Signal as a safe alternative

The messenger Telegram had only recently caused criticism because it is considered a reservoir for conspiracy theorists and right-wing extremists. The conclusion of the specialist portal “Heise Security” is extremely sobering when it comes to privacy: Telegram is a disasterwhen it comes to the privacy of users go, judge the testers. The app deliver everything you type to the Telegram server in real time – and not only when you send the message.

The server even has access to a complete copy of all chats, summarize the experts. Conversations should actually be stored exclusively on the user’s mobile device. The problem: What the provider does with the data, apart from sending it to the mobile device of its owner, remains in the dark. Do that even WhatsApp better.

It is true that there are “secret chats” as a Telegram function that are secured by being read by third parties. The feature is so well hidden that even Telegram users are often not familiar with it, and it can only be used to a limited extent: It does not work for groups and only ever on one device.

Be here too other messengers better positioned. Signal, for example, or WhatsApp, which uses Signal’s encryption technology. There are no central chat databases for these two messengers. The messages are encrypted so that only the real recipient can open and read them (end-to-end encryption) and the chats are only stored on the owner’s mobile device.

Apart from that, WhatsApp, which belongs to Facebook, is closed-source software. Nobody knows what exactly is inside, such as possible back doors. In addition, WhatsApp will gradually be further integrated into the group, which “earns billions with the excessive use of its users’ data”.

The experts recommend Signal as a secure messenger alternative with good encryption, which is without exception open source software, i.e. an open source program. So you can always check what’s going on behind the scenes.

In addition, the signal infrastructure is operated by a non-profit foundation that is committed to data protection and is financed entirely from donations. There is also no financial interest in user data. Behind Telegram, on the other hand, there is an opaque company structure, about whose motives almost nothing is known. (af)

November 13, 2020: “Vanish Mode” for Instagram and Facebook Messenger

After WhatsApp (see entry from November 6th), Facebook now also has Instagram and the Facebook Messenger announced disappearing messages. If the so-called Vanish Mode is activated, all posted messages and content will dissolve as soon as you leave the respective chat.

The Vanish Mode works according to the information only with your own contacts and only if both sides have switched it on. If the chat partner takes a screenshot in Vanish Mode, you should receive a notification.

While the new feature is already available in the USA, most users of Instagram and Facebook Messenger in this country still have to be patient. The company expressly advises that the Vanish fashion should be rolled out slowly. There is, however, a clear time horizon for WhatsApp users: They should be able to use the automatically running messages in November.

Faster than Facebook with its messenger and chat offers have been various other messengers: With Signal, Ginlo, Wire or Telegram, you can set how long a sent message should be available in a conversation before it disappears. (mgb)

November 6, 2020: Messenger magic: WhatsApp messages delete themselves

WhatsApp leads so-called expiring messages as a new feature. This allows you to determine that a newly sent message disappears from a chat after seven days. Other messengers call such “Vanishing Bus” functions, somewhat more martial, often “self-destructive messages”.

In a personal chat, each of the two participants can switch current messages on or off. In groups, this is reserved for the administrators. The new Feature should be available on all devices during the month of November.

Must be activated running messages for each chat individually. You tap on the name of the contact, then on “Expiring messages”, then on “Next” or “Continue”. And finally you choose “On”. (mgb)

November 4, 2020: New clearing out tool for WhatsApp

Because WhatsApp often has countless files slumbering that you no longer need, the messenger wants its users Make clearing out easier for users. A new memory management should help them to check, sort and delete the messenger contents, as the Facebook subsidiary announces.

WhatsApp should therefore have large files, Videos, photos or audio files that have already been forwarded several times, put in a trash – sorted in descending order by size. There you can preview the files and finally select several elements at the same time to delete them.

The new memory management, which should be available worldwide during the week, can be found under “Settings / Data and memory usage / Memory usage”. Details on how it works can be found in an explanatory video that WhatsApp published on Youtube. (mgb)

Autumn cleaning? Not just at home. It is also good for the smartphone memory to be spruced up from time to time. WhatsApp now wants to better support users with this. © YouTube

October 22, 2020: WhatsApp will in future offer shopping via chat

WhatsApp will enable its users in the future Buy products directly from a chat. The end customers use their usual WhatsApp application and do not have to install a second app. Smaller companies that offer the goods and services, on the other hand, use a special business app from WhatsApp to respond to customer inquiries. For larger companies, WhatsApp also offers an interface (API) for customer care systems or inventory management software instead of a smartphone app, with which a larger number of customer inquiries can be dealt with.

WhatsApp Business was launched in January 2018. Since then, the service has developed dynamically. According to Whatsapp, more than send now 175 million people send messages to a WhatsApp business account every day. The service’s first customers were Vodafone Germany and the Spanish airline Iberia, who have so far mainly responded to customer inquiries in WhatsApp chat. The WhatsApp Business interface is also used by start-ups such as Twillo, MessageBird, Yalochat and Infobip, which offer their own cloud communication platforms for their commercial customers. (mgb)

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