I am sure many would have received the notification from Whatsapp about changes to their policy. I am also very many would have received forwarded messages about what some popular messaging apps are storing in terms of your data. And I am also very sure many is still unsure about what it all means..
I will try to help make things simple for you..
If you are already using Facebook, it does not really matter much anyway. There is not that much that Whatsapp and Facebook does not already know about you. By continuing to use Whatsapp, you are just doing to be giving them even more of your data over the long period. It just means that ads across the Facebook group of companies like Facebook and Instagram will be more targeted (specially for you based on your data). But one thing about Whatsapp is that (almost) everyone is using Whatsapp, so there is a good chance your contact is already on Whatsapp. The same cannot be said about the other messaging apps..
However, if you want to start being more careful with your personal data and want to know what is available, read on..
This is a very popular apps from China. Outside of China, it is mainly used just for chats, but in China, there are many more features that makes this apps really powerful. But since this apps is from China, some companies do block access to some of the app’s features like the cloud storage and web client. The apps does not feel polished in some aspects and you may come across difficulties setting up an account if your phone number has been previously used to register a WeChat account.
Another popular messaging apps that is similar to Whatsapp, but with even more features. You can have many more members in your chat groups (as of posting this, you can have up to 200 000 members in a group), bigger file size limit (currently up to 2GB files can be shared) and many more. There is even a web client similar to Whatsapp, though the UI is not as polished as Web Whatsapp. Telegram is a cloud-based service, so all your data is actually stored on Telegram server (because of this, you do not have to worry about chat backup and you can enable a feature in group chats that will allow new members to see old chats in the group). But being cloud-based also means that it is technically possible to access your data from the server.
Another messaging apps, but not as popular as Whatsapp and Telegram. However, it is backed by one of the Whatsapp founder and is the messaging apps that Snowden uses. Recently Elon Musk also encouraged the use of Signal apps. If you are concerned about your data and privacy, this is probably one of the best apps for you at the moment. It collects almost no data from you (other than your phone number but makes no effort to link it to any other data). It is considered a very secure apps as nothing is stored on their server. This also means backup of chat data becomes more challenging (but it is possible). There is no web client and you will need to install the desktop apps to be able to check your messages on your computer.
Korean messaging apps that has got really nice stickers. They have had this feature since Day 1, long before Whatsapp implemented it. There are also built in social features like games. There is no web client and you will need to install the desktop apps to view your messages on your computer. When I was using this apps many years back, customer service was non-existent and chat backup was really horrible (had to back up one chat at a time). Things have improved since then but many have abandoned this messaging apps.
There are many more messaging apps out there, but these are just the few of the more popular ones. There is no ONE right apps for all. It really depends on what you want from your messaging apps and what are you willing to give up. Anyway, it does not hurt to also have more than one apps – I have a few installed on my phone.
What about you? Are you tempted to explore other instant messaging apps? What do you prefer now?