Confidentiality of Messenger Apps. Who collects the least data? [Table]

Apple has recently introduced privacy labels in its App Store for iOS apps. This new feature forces developers to reveal all data it collects from users and also explain how the data is being used. With iOS 14 update for iPhones, Apple has ensured that app developers can’t hide behind lengthy and incomprehensible privacy policies and transact with your personal data while offering a free app in return.

Now, as all apps require what kind of data is harvested from your device, we went through two of the most popular messaging apps — WhatsApp and Messenger– both Facebook products. For the sake of comparison, we are also considering, Telegram, Signal and iMessage. Signal is a relatively lesser-known messaging app in India. But what is important to note is that Signal offers all the features of WhatsApp. Telegram is another WhatsApp alternative offering more privacy.

For those unaware, the co-founder of WhatsApp– Brian Acton– left the company after Facebook acquired it. He then moved ahead to create the Signal Foundation with Moxie Marlinspike. The Signal messaging app is like what WhatsApp used to be earlier and offers better privacy. There is end-to-end encryption by default powered by the open source Signal Protocol. So, here’s a comparison about the amount of data collected by WhatsApp, Telegram, iMessage, Signal and Facebook Messenger…

Comparison Table of Messenger Apps Privacy

AppsData collectedScore
SignalNone. Signal only needs your mobile number for registration but the report claims that the app doesn’t link your phone number to your identity.5
iMessageEmail address, Phone number, Search history, Device ID3
WhatsAppDevice ID, User ID, Advertising Data, Purchase History, Coarse Location, Phone Number, Email Address, Contacts, Product Interaction, Crash Data, Performance Data, Other Diagnostic Data, Payment Info, Customer Support, Product Interaction, Other User, Content2
Facebook MessengerThird-Party Advertising, Purchase History, Financial Info, Precise Location, Coarse Location, Physical Address, Email Address, Name, Phone Number, Other User Contact Info, Contacts, Photos or Videos, Gameplay Content, Other User Content, Search History, Browsing History, User ID, Device ID, Product Interaction, Advertising Data, Other Usage Data, Crash Data, Performance Data, Other Diagnostic Data, Other Data Types, Developer’s, Advertising or Marketing, Health, Fitness, Payment Info, Sensitive Info, Product Personalization, Credit Info, Other Financial Info, Emails or Text Messages1
TelegramName, Phone number, Contacts, User ID4
Confidentiality of Messenger Apps. Who collects the least data? [Table]

Signal – Private Messenger

Data collected: None. Signal only needs your mobile number for registration but the report claims that the app doesn’t link your phone number to your identity.

iMessage

Data collected: Email address, Phone number, Search history, Device ID. Click here to see on Apple’s support page.

Confidentiality of Messenger Apps. Who collects the least data? [Table]

Telegram



Data Collected: Name, Phone number, Contacts, User ID

Confidentiality of Messenger Apps. Who collects the least data? [Table]

WhatsApp



Data collected: Device ID, User ID, Advertising Data, Purchase History, Coarse Location, Phone Number, Email Address, Contacts, Product Interaction, Crash Data, Performance Data, Other Diagnostic Data, Payment Info, Customer Support, Product Interaction, Other User, Content.

Note: WhatsApp is also known to collect user metadata which its hasn’t provided much clarity.

Confidentiality of Messenger Apps. Who collects the least data? [Table]

Facebook Messenger



For Facebook Messenger, the list is just too long and includes almost all types of personal user data an app can possibly collect.

Data collected: Third-Party Advertising, Purchase History, Financial Info, Precise Location, Coarse Location, Physical Address, Email Address, Name, Phone Number, Other User Contact Info, Contacts, Photos or Videos, Gameplay Content, Other User Content, Search History, Browsing History, User ID, Device ID, Product Interaction, Advertising Data, Other Usage Data, Crash Data, Performance Data, Other Diagnostic Data, Other Data Types, Developer’s, Advertising or Marketing, Health, Fitness, Payment Info, Sensitive Info, Product Personalization, Credit Info, Other Financial Info, Emails or Text Messages.