WHATSAPP is on the verge of enforcing controversial new terms that will lock users out of their accounts unless they agree to share data with Facebook, which owns the chats app.
If you're looking for alternative services, there are plenty to choose from that offer secure messaging and calls.
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Signal is an encrypted messaging app that you can download for free on your smartphone.
It allows one to one or group messages that can include files, voice notes, videos, images, voice calls and video calls.
The app is championed as the most secure digital communication method on the open market.
It gives users the option to erase their own messages within a set period of time, from a week down to just five seconds.
Last year, the Sun reported that members of the UK Government, including the Prime Minister, had signed up to Signal.
Disappearing messages are liked by senior Government figures because they help limit leaks.
But the option also makes it impossible to seize their messages later by Freedom of Information requests or a judge’s order.
The app was created by the Signal Foundation and Signal Messenger LLC.
The Signal Foundation was formed in 2018 by Moxie Marlinspike and WhatsApp co-founder Brian Acton.
Their aim is "to support, accelerate, and broaden Signal's mission of making private communication accessible and ubiquitous", meaning it could be used by everyone everywhere.
Telegram is a popular and totally free instant messaging app.
It's an alternative to apps like WhatsApp, Signal, Facebook Messenger and iMessage.
The service offers encrypted messaging and calling, as well as other features like voice messaging and animated stickers.
Telegram has seen a surge in users recently, thanks to an exodus from WhatsApp over new terms and conditions.
According to Telegram, it gained 25million new users over 72 hours.
That brings its total user numbers to a staggering 500million.
The default Apple messaging app comes pre-installed on iPhones and offers encrypted messaging as standard.
Apple fans also have the option of automatically wiping their texts every 30 days via an option in your device's settings.
Like on WhatsApp, you can turn off read receipts on iMessage so people can't see when you've read their message.
You can also switch off lock screen notifications so your messages can only be viewed when you open your phone.
Viber encrypts all messages by default.
It was the first global messaging app to let users delete messages after they've sent them, wiping them from the inboxes of chat members.
The "Secret Chats" feature lets you set a self destruct timer on messages so that they can be deleted almost instantly.
The feature is useful if you're ever sending sensitive information.
Viber also has a "Hidden Chats" section that can only be accessed with a personal pin.
WhatsApp new terms explained
The terms expanded the app's right to share some user data with the Facebook app.
Users were told to accept the changes or risk losing their accounts.
The pop-up sparked panic on social media and led to a mass exodus to rival chat apps Signal and Telegram.
Millions jumped ship over misguided fears that the agreement permits Facebook to read private messages.
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As it turned out, the new terms are related to messaging with businesses – but were poorly explained by WhatsApp.
WhatsApp initially handed users a cut off of February 8 to agree to the terms but pushed that back to May following fierce criticism online.
WhatsApp said that it will "slowly ask" users to comply with the new terms "in order to have full functionality of WhatsApp" starting May 15.
Those who decline the agreement – distributed via a pop-up – will be blocked from sending messages and could see their accounts shut down.
In other news, an upcoming WhatsApp update will reportedly block older iPhones from sending takes and making calls through the app.
Find out how to disguise your iPhone apps.
And, check out this juicy new iPhone 13 leak.
Are you a WhatsApp fan? Let us know in the comments!
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