Before You Rush to Telegram…

From the COLlive Inbox: Horrified by the censorship and watching tens of my friends leaving WhatsApp, I decided to try Telegram. What I was quick to discover is the danger ahead. Full Story

By A Reader

In recent days, I have become horrified by the big tech tyranny and censorship. I felt we must fight back against big tech. The news about the lack of privacy on WhatsApp also worried me.

Yes, it meant losing social networks but I felt that I have to do my part.

Watching tens of my friends also leaving and reading online how thousands, if not millions are leaving as well (many for other reasons) gave me the feeling that we do have a movement here and that big tech will feel a little pain.

And indeed Twitter’s stock fell 10%.

But where to go? Telegram or Signal?

I figured, I’ll try both and see where the groups go.

What I was quick to discover is, this is wrong!!! Emergency!!! Danger ahead!!!!

From a privacy perspective:

1) I receive a message every time any of my contacts join Telegram. Which means that the moment you join, Telegram will literally send a broadcast message about your joining to all your contacts on Telegram, without asking you.

2) The contacts are sorted by “Last Seen”.
This means you will pop up to the top of everyone’s list every time you open the app. Oh, and disabling this “feature” in your Privacy Settings only removes the exact time stamp, but still will say “just now” “a long time ago” etc. Why is that even a thing – do you decide who you want to text based on Last Seen?! This is a terrible breach of privacy.

Even while setting up Telegram:

1) They require you to enter at least a first name – why do they need to know that?

2) They repeatedly ask for permission to place and receive calls “in order to verify your phone number.”

I denied and denied until they finally resorted to just asking for permission to my Call Log, which I denied. Then they finally just sent me a regular SMS to verify my phone number – Was that so hard?! Couldn’t they have started with this privacy-friendly method?!

From a safety perspective:

The feature called “Nearby People” will reveal nearby users (including their profile pictures and their exact distance in feet to you) and nearby public group chats. The users and groups on this list are not from your contacts, they are ANYBODY and ANY group opted in to be discovered, where any stranger can post literally anything. Likewise, their “Channels” feature makes the worst content discoverable to anybody with one search.

This feature is unfiltered, and it is filled with shmutz of the lowest kind.

The status quo is much safer!

So I am back to WhatsApp and encourage everyone else to stay.



    • You have end-to-end encryption. Unlike what most people think, WhatsApp has no access to your chats. They have very little and useless information about you.

      • The whole privacy panic is overrated, by people who don't understand anything about what information is collected and how it's even used.
        And meanwhile everyone is still using Gmail, Google Maps, YouTube, Google, Chrome, lol.

        • Unfortunately, this is incorrect. Your personal data is very valuable. It's not overrated, it's about time...

          What you do on your device, what you purchase, who you connect with, for how long, where you were when you did it. These are the data-points that profile you and is very valuable, perhaps not uniquely, but enough demographically to profile individuals and groups by city block or house on it. When that information filters what you find online, what news you get, it has tremendous power to shift perception.

          With no business value to speak of, why did FB pay Billions for WhatsApp in 2014? The data collected is worth that... but it is not about advertising dollars either.

          All the big tech are guilty of the same thing, collecting more than they state, for reasons they don't state publicly.

          They just became the moral compass for the most powerful man in the world, shut him down, cut off his funding, silenced his voice, and know how to connect to the next dot in his chain because of "meaningless" data. How did FB find 70'000 QAnon accounts to disable, by connecting the dots?

          Today it's a riotous mob, tomorrow maybe BLM, and then "those Jewish religious fanatics".

      • Firstly, the end-to-end encryption cannot be verified because WhatsApp is not open source (the code is not available to the public), so, you just need to take their word for it when they tell you messages are encrypted (and anything else they tell you).

        Secondly, backups are not encrypted. And, all backups are managed by a third party, Apple (iCloud) or Google (Drive), and are stored in plain text (unencrypted), meaning WhatsApp and Google/Apple have full access to all your messages, assuming they're backed-up (most people back them up).

        Lastly, compared to Telegram and Signal, WhatsApp has substantially more information on you (it may be useless to you, but it is their most valuable and profitable asset). WhatsApp has access to your:
        User ID, Location History, Advertising Data, Purchase History, Phone Number, Email Address, Contacts, Product Interaction, Crash Data, Performance Data, Other Diagnostic Data, Payment Info, Customer Support, Product Interaction, Other User Content.

        Compared to Telegram, which only has access to your Contact info, Contacts, User ID, Phone Number.

        And Signal: nothing but your phone number.

        • WhatsApp does not have any access to information on your phone, any more than Signal and telegram does.
          The "purchase history" and "payment info" that they have access to is referring to the purchases you make INSIDE WhatsApp, just like any store knows your purchase history at THAT store, and the payment information that they have is only the payment information that YOU choose to use INSIDE WhatsApp. But WhatsApp does not have access to your private information from other apps. That's simple basics of app security. It's simply not possible.

          Location permission does not need to be given for WhatsApp to work, if you turned it on for whatever reason, just turn it back off. Signal and telegram also have your location info if you turn allow it the location permission.

          • I don't blame you when you don't know how it works. WhatsApp collects your location based on your IP when your GPS is not available. And basically WhatsApp collects a lot more than you can imagine. In fact, ever since Facebook bought WhatsApp, they started collecting. You can easily see that if you are on both Facebook and WhatsApp, you would see Facebook started suggesting your contacts but you never share your contact list with Facebook.

            The recent statement about privacy change is basically a legal statement to cover their butt about "okay now we are officially taking your data and use or sell them, if you agree you can keep using it or else don't use it". They just made it official comparing to before: unofficial only.

            And the new official statement is in super high level that they basically can do anything with your data without boundaries.

          • You care about privacy and you have Facebook?? Lol
            WhatsApp collects nothing compared to the notorious Facebook platform. And it's been that way for a decade already. So it's funny you have Facebook and complain about WhatsApp

          • WhatsApp clearly states and reiterates over and over that your contacts are not shared. If you can prove that they are pure lying about that clear detail, you can make big headlines.

      • Facebook just changed their tos, they are now collecting that end to end encrypted message and saving it just like all other facebook data. This is why Elon musk said try the Signal app. He didn't say use telegram, that's just for ----.

        Don't go back to WhatsApp whatever you do. Just find the alt tech that works for you. Signal and gab are currently our best choices, not the do nothing mentality of the author.

    • Do you have a google account? Do you know how much google knows about you? I don't think so, because they know about everything.
      And believe me. WhatsApp could have had access to your account without telling you, they are just making it official now.
      Make your life easier and stay on WhatsApp

    • Headed to Signal. I watched conservative channel after channel go down on Telegram. Yet antifa's stayed up. It was unbelievable. People warned in comments about the admin's behaviour, but I didn't listen!

  • that's ridiculous I have been using telegram for the last 5 years way before I used what's app you can change the last seen just like WhatsApp and no it doesn't go straight to top WhatsApp also asked you to put a name what a joke, they only ask once to verify and not even just like WhatsApp they send a code through text and that thing about nearby ppl I have never gotten that and once again you can also turn it off by settings ,stop trying to find the bad in everything cuz there will always be something you dont like.

    • You CANNOT control last seen. You can choose not to sort YOUR list by last seen, but everyone can still see when YOU were last seen "just now" / "a while ago" etc. The article mentioned this.
      Why is a privacy-based app even asking for a name altogether? The name for the users will display whatever they have in their contacts, so why are they asking for my name?
      You actually cannot remove "Nearby" (you can turn off location, but then the teenager can turn it back on, where's the safety in that?)
      You cannot remove the Channels feature which is totally unfiltered.
      It's a shame you've used it for 5 years and you didn't know all this that the writer figured out on day 1.

      • You can't opt out from sending YOUR broadcast message to everyone when YOU join.
        You can't out out of "Channels" which lets anyone search for anything, totally unfiltered.
        You cannot usefully block the Nearby feature.
        You can't opt out from providing a name, sure you can lie about your name or just put an emoji.
        You can't opt out from people seeing your "Last Seen", you can only opt out from sharing the exact minute.

    • 1) When you sign up for Telegram, they will RIGHT AWAY send out the broadcast message from your phone to all your contacts about your joining. There is no chance to turn that off not to get sent out.

      2) You can choose to not sort YOUR OWN contacts list by last seen, but all your contacts are still able to sort THEIR lists by last seen and there goes your privacy.

      3) "People Nearby" feature cannot be removed, and even if it CAN be removed there's still a real issue that it's there, and there by default. Don't underestimate Nisyonos.

  • Respectfully, I have been on Telegram for a very long time now, way before the WhatsApp issues arose.
    All of those 'problems' you mentioned - are completely controllable! You don't have to know when someone joins Telegram (unless your settings ask to be informed) and if you don't turn your location on, you won't be part of any groups. As to the other stuff, same as WhatsApp.
    Telegram is a multi-platform app - which means you can have it on many types of devices, unlike WhatsApp.
    Learn how to use the app properly - it's way better than WhatsApp!

    • The issue isn't me knowing when someone else joins, the issue is that they broadcast a message about ME when I join, without asking me, and that CANNOT be stopped.
      Also, how do you disable the ability to browse channels for inappropriate content?
      Also, WhatsApp supports all platforms btw, seems you didn't know. Oh they don't support Palm Pilots, sorry.

      • Use a kosher version of Telegram if need be.
        WhatsApp doesn't have multi device support, meaning you can have it simultaneously running on your computer and phone without needing either device. It can be just on the PC as well.

        • WhatsApp ensures that you have access to your phone before they allow you to use WhatsApp on PC. This is simple security. Like 2 factor authentication.
          Once you confirm it's you, you can use WhatsApp on your phone and computer simultaneously.

  • I had telegram for a few months. It’s not safe even if you set a password. I set a password so in order to read messages I have to type in my password. One motze shabbos I couldn’t log on someone in Dubai changed my password and added me to so many Arabic groups over 600 groups and I had to manually one by one deleted each group. And once again a different motze shabbos the same thing happened. After that I had telegram for a few more weeks then I deleted it.

  • Both of these apps are routinely used for trafficking, drugs, etc because of the low privacy and control on them as compared to WhatsA pp so before blindly following every conspiracy theory ( which sadly our community has been doing this year) please educate yourselves properly. As a parent, these are also more concerning because of how easily you can connect with other us ers.

    • Do some research. Signal is the most secure. It was created by theco-founder of WhatsApp, Brian Acton, after he had a disagreement with Zuckerberg, who wanted to monetize WhatsApp (by sharing more user data with advertisers etc.). Acton strongly disagreed with Zuckerberg and, so, he left Facebook and created a new messaging app, Signal, a privacy and security oriented messaging app.

  • 1. Indeed annoying, but don't forget it's only those who have you as a contact, which in WhatsApp you can see as well.

    2. Like it said you can turn it off in the settings it's split into seen recently, seen within the week, within the month and year. What's wrong with that? It doesn't let the whole world know if I was up till 2am and still let's them know if I use telegram occasionally. (WhatsApp also has time stamps enabled by default).

    3. You can put in any name just as by WhatsApp.

    4. They ask for permission for your call log and stuff just like WhatsApp and every other modern app so you don't have to copy and paste the code. This can be easily denied.

    5. For the dangers switch to a kosher version like cloud veil messenger or teleteens and your all set.

      1. WhatsApp does NOT send out a broadcast message to all your contacts when you join!
      2. Wrong. The whole world can know you were up at 2 am if you are seen "Just Now" at 3am.
      3. The point is, if they are private, why are they asking for a name. Of course you can lie about your name or just put a dot.
      4. From a Privacy app, they should use as least permission as possible. make and Place calls, and then asking for Call Log was not needed.
      5. Thank you. It's good to know. Can you confirm that they do not support Channels? Channels are completely unfiltered. The issue still remains that if Telegram becomes the platform we all switch to, most people will end up on the regular unfiltered Telegram app.
      • As I said indeed annoying, but not altogether crazy. I think your mistaking Telegram as a top notch security app like signal. Telegram is primarily the most feature filled messaging app, which does focus on security, but if there's a way to optionally make it more convenient for the user they'd do so. Take a look at the telegram settings you have options for everything, including last seen you can turn that off.
        As for the kosher challenges that's always going to be an issue, instead of just avoiding the issue you gotta discuss how to solve it. Bottom line people are downloading telegram. What's to do? Suggest them the kosher versions theirs teleteens and cloudveil plus others.

        • You clearly did not read the entire article. It clearly states that even if you "turn off" last seen, everyone can STILL see when you were last seen! they just won't see the exact minute, but they can see "Last Seen: Just Now" when you browsed your phone at 4am.
          Also, it's not "annoying" that they send a bradcast message about me without my permission, it's outright disgusting! Sending a broadcast message to all my contacts without asking me??

  • The poster is correct in what he/she says about telegram - signal however is the better solution (albeit imperfect). You can’t search groups with signal, and there’s no “nearby” feature. Even groups on signal you can only see what it’s about if invited.

  • All this is made up garbage they don't require you to do anything You don't have to put in your last name it's the same thing like every single messaging app You can turn off all the features and make sure your privacy is secure Don't be sheep guys

    • Sheep is to run away from WhatsApp because some news outlets scared you into that. Everything in that article is true: You CANNOT disable "last seen", your contacts can ALWAYS know that you were seen "Just now". The app has Channels feature which provides unfiltered filth on a silver platter. Ein Apotropos La'arayos... And the message they broadcast to all your contacts about YOU when YOU join, cannot be stopped.

    • you cannot change settings to stop most of the issues described in the article. And yes, duh, you can lie about your name, the article asked "WHY" is a privacy app asking for your name? What is it even being used for? You will show up on others phones based on the name in their contacts, so why are they asking extra info about me?

  • Signal is the most secure messaging app. It was created by the co-founder of WhatsApp, Brian Acton, after he had a disagreement with Zuckerberg, who wanted to monetize WhatsApp (by sharing more user data with advertisers etc.). Acton strongly disagreed with Zuckerberg and, so, he left Facebook and created a new messaging app, Signal, a privacy and security oriented messaging app.

    Signal still has a ways to go in terms of interface and simplicity, but they are not that far behind and, with the tremendous influx of new users, they are probably working on new updates already.

  • You and YWN are so greedy and afraid of losing your whatsapp followers that you are intentionally misleading everyone by claiming it's safe to stay with whatsapp. Whatsapp is not safe and not private. Everyone should leave. Do not listen to COLLIVE and YWN . They want you to stay because they get traffic through their whatsapp alerts

  • If Elon the richest man on earth refers user to signal I'm sure he did his homework too on whats best & safest out of them all, I have been using signal for couple days now & it dosent ask me for any of that private info

  • The fundamental reason for switching should be because it is part of big tech, its not only about there policy but more so their hypocrisy of monitoring and stifling another view that doesn't agree with them.

    Telegram is not owned by big tech has more features than WhatsApp

    Signal is probably the best its a non-profit and is actually secure.

    • If you're trying to hurt Big Tech and not hurt yourself, you have to find an alternative to the current options.

      Whatsapp and Signal are owned by Big Tech (Facebook and Twitter, respectively)

      Telegram is not a good place for klal yisroel as a whole even if you personally are sure of your tzidkus.

  • Theres absolutely no need to scare and panic everyone by writing and posting it, even whatsapp has features that not everyone likes
    Stop searching for the bad part of everything and paniciking about it
    Thats not good either

  • The moment they made it mandatory to share your info with their Facebook platform
    As a matter of fact I’m closing my accounts with Facebook and Instagram as well

  • Don't use your real name, address or phone number.
    For phone number get sideline, or one of the other random alternate number generating apps.
    Put in any made up name other then your own.
    Don't worry about their hypocritical "rules", they don't worry about your privacy.

    • happens to be the shmutz.
      There is NO way to trust yourself at all times.
      anyone who claims that they never fall or let themselves slide is either delusional or already DEEP in it already

      Docheiu B'shtei Yodaim

        • The point of the response "The real problem" was not about using your real name or number, that's your personal choice.

          The Nekuda was, and continues to be, what are you exposing yourself too.
          What choices will you have to make, to click or not, to look or not.

          The Alter Rebbe in Tanya compares our (very human and normal!) desires to a burning furnace, meaning that no matter how prepared you are, or how many "safeguards" you put in place, at the moment of truth, you never put yourself in such a situation.

          Just as you wouldn't knowingly move in to a Beis Zonos, no matter how good the rent is, we must be carful not to carry one round in our pocket.

          Everyone who has is a mature person knows times that their eyes wondered, they took a second look, or clicked where they shouldn't,

          To claim "It won't happen to me" is a sign that
          A) They are immature
          B) They are very naive
          C) They are already in it up to their necks
          (I would know, I'm talking from experience)

          I hope this clarifies things

          • He went to cities when he had to.
            He did business with various people and knew that his chassidim had to live in the world as well.

            Most people do not have the luxury of cocooning themselves away from anything that their eyes might accidentally see.
            And if that was the point of existence, G-d wouldn't have put our Neshamas into this world in physical bodies in the first place.

            How many people think they are so "frum" because they never leave the daled Amas of Yeshivah and still say Loshon hara?

            There are averas far greater then accidentally seeing something non
            kosher that many tend to dismiss as "acceptable".

          • Like I said there are plenty of people who NEVER gave their real names or numbers on social media.
            Do you think you have the right to speak for them?
            Yes or no?
            Which is it?

            Typical liberal evasion tactics.

    • It is inconvenient to have separate phone numbers for different platforms. Your friends should be able to use the same phone number to find you in any platform. Don't be those guys "My WhatsApp number is this, my SMS number is this. Oh I didn't get your call because you called my WhatsApp number, not my real number..." etc.

        • And what exactly do you solve by this?
          So now your 1st number won't get spammed, only your second number. Yay! (If anything, having more numbers is more openings for spam and robocalls etc.)

          • Facebook is not coming down to your address to harm you.
            Easy on the conspiracies, Facebook is just trying to serve you relevant ads instead of irrelevant ads, that's it. What's the big deal.
            There's no need to be so paranoid.

          • I said nothing about Facebook.
            I have many times been threatened by antisemites who said they wanted to find me, to harm me.

            And one email address of mine was mentioned on the dark web, with various unknowns saying they were willing to pay money to find out more about me.

            So much for your "paranoia", fantasies.

          • How do YOU know where they got my information?
            You didn't even know who I was talking about and conflated what I said with your own beliefs about what you wanted to pretend I was saying.

            You aren't any authority, on where they got my info from.

  • If you turn off your last seen there's no way for someone to see that you were just online. And I quote from their website "Last seen recently — covers anything between 1 second and 2-3 days", I don't think that's invasive at all, That's actually very useful to know if someone actively uses telegram

  • Whatsapp, Telegram and Signal. I wonder which one will announce Moshiach first.
    Actually, maybe I will get rid of all three and see what better way I can spend my time. True, it says in Hayom Yom about gashmius into something spiritual but too much of the day seems to fly away on these "social?" apps.

  • I think people are angrier about whatsapp, because it subsitutes personal texts. It is more invasive when a tech company sells, uses, your personal texts, whereas Facebook Twitter instgram, as they are essentially advertising platforms, so a consumer feels it comes with the terrotory. Even personal accounts its advertising your name brand.

    + whatsapp has a simple substitute of texting. There are no real alternatives to facebook twitter or instagram yet. So a consumer will leave faster, and not feel they are missing something.

    People will leave Gmail if there is a good alternative.

  • We are all on whatsup because all my school is in whatsup, parents chats, Rabbi's chats ... how did we communicated before? Maybe let’s do something kosher old version- kosher phones...
    we are all into internet too much and yes pls send me mail as well .... ? Anyone know if it will work?

  • B"H
    It was already mentioned on here a few years ago where the biggest lack of privacy - our knees, elbows collarbones and hair. Maybe that kind of privacy breach we can all work on.

  • Funny how many of the people complaining about WhatsApp sharing data with Facebook, actually have Facebook itself!
    If you used Facebook all these years, you should be more than fine with the new WhatsApp terms.

  • apparently WhatsApp Tweet the other day does not exactly fit with the new terms and conditions that will be taken into affect on January 8th.

    Besides, in 2019 they listed on their website "privacy is built into our DNA" and now and 2021 that statement disappeared.

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