[Update Sept 2021 - WhatsApp issued second-largest GDPR fine of €225m]
Many professionals are finding that WhatsApp isn't an ideal platform for communicating with their peers. In some cases they're not actually allowed to use it for work, and they may need to look elsewhere. In this post we will explore some of the best WhatsApp alternatives.
15 reasons why WhatsApp isn't right for professional messaging
WhatsApp allows for seamless messaging across operating systems and international borders. It provides end-to-end encryption for privacy and is massively popular throughout the globe with over 1.5 billion active daily users.
However, every app contains its drawbacks, and WhatsApp’s cons are especially apparent when it comes to professional messaging.
In fact, corporate use of WhatsApp is strictly prohibited, as stated in its terms and conditions: "You will not use (or assist others in using) our Services in ways that: involve any non-personal use of our Services unless otherwise authorized by us."
Despite this, over 500m people are using WhatsApp for work purposes.
Here are 15 reasons why you might want to look elsewhere...
- WhatsApp is not compliant with privacy legislation like GDPR. It is within every international company’s best interest to use applications that comply with GDPR.
- WhatsApp is introducing adverts in the status screen which some people find annoying or intrusive.
- WhatsApp has no profiles so unless you personally know someone, you don’t know anything about them.
- WhatsApp has no admin dashboard for business intelligence.
- WhatsApp does not provide business-grade support or account management.
- WhatsApp has a single stream of chat and cannot be organized by topic.
- When you join a WhatsApp group you can’t see any content from before joining.
- In WhatsApp the group joining/leaving experience is very abrupt.
- You can’t edit content in WhatsApp, nor delete it after one hour.
- WhatsApp is reliant on (increasingly overwhelming) mobile push notifications which many users find irritating.
- WhatsApp groups are branded by each individual user.
- WhatsApp’s web version is limited and only works in the presence of your phone.
- WhatsApp groups are limited in size to 256.
- In WhatsApp you can only see message info for your own messages.
- WhatsApp has no reactions for messages.
Let's now look at some alternatives, and we will start with the platform we're busy building, though there are others to explore depending on your needs.
Guild is a purpose-built mobile messaging platform for professionals. It is - and will always be - ad-free, and we've put user privacy and control at the heart of the app. Nothing can be shared without the user's permission.
The app was developed to support professional group messaging. It can be used within organisations as a comms tool, or can help professionals to stay connected to their peers across groups, networks and communities.
We hope you will give Guild a try! More about Guild on this site.
Signal is a secure, free, and open source messaging application that uses end-to-end encryption to securely send and receive all kinds of communications with other Signal users. Signal requires a telephone number to sign up.
Signal has 100% open source code: the code is available on GitHub. The Signal Messaging Protocol was independently audited in 2016. Signal does not support 2FA (Two-Factor Authentication) however.
Signal is owned by the Signal Foundation and supported by donations. Brian Action, co-founder of WhatsApp, is the executive chairman.
Signal is similar to WhatsApp in its interface and features but it is a) blue not green and b) not owned by Facebook...
Telegram is a cloud-based mobile and desktop messaging app with a focus on security and speed.
Telegram is supported by Pavel Durov and his brother Nikolai. Pavel supports Telegram financially and ideologically while Nikolai's input is technological. The Telegram development team is based in Dubai.Most of the developers behind Telegram originally come from St. Petersburg.
Telegram is also similar to WhatsApp in the way it works from a user's perspective but it is a) also blue not green and b) not owned by Facebook... so no ads and data sharing etc.
Skype started out in the early 2000’s as video chat application software. Skype is a great way to call and text people for free. The app has over 300 million active daily users. Microsoft owns Skype and integrates it with Microsoft Office making it easily deployable for businesses.
With Skype connectivity, users can connect, communicate, and collaborate with colleagues, consumers, other businesses and anyone else who uses Skype.
Unlike WhatsApp, users have to approve contacts prior to sending messages making it a slightly more private alternative in the business setting.
Viber functions similarly to WhatsApp in that it integrates with existing phone contacts. It is a cross-platform instant messaging and voice application. Viber is headquartered in Luxembourg and owned by Japanese tech company Rakuten.
Users setup their account via an access code sent by text message. Once downloaded, the app will search which of your other contacts also use Viber so you can instantly start messaging them.
In addition to messaging, Viber allows users to call each other which WhatsApp does not. The app has about 260 million daily active users. The app is most popular in Africa, Europe and the Middle East.
WeChat has over 1 billion active daily users primarily in China. The app allows for text, voice and content sharing. WeChat also offers a more comprehensive option for companies with tailored services and account management.
Users can integrate WeChat accounts with Facebook and email to curate contacts more easily. The app also offers location features such as Friend Radar” and “People Nearby” to find friends and contacts in close proximity.
Line has over 200 million active daily users. Users can activate their account by providing their phone number. The app allows for free messaging and content sharing. It also allows for free voice and video calls.
Users can also follow accounts of artists, celebrities, brands and tv shows to receive the latest news, promotions and deals. The primary advantage of Line over WhatsApp is that it offers video calling where WhatsApp does not.
Canadian app Kik is a free instant messaging app available on Android and iOS operating systems. Users register with their email addresses. The user interface is simple and users can easily message individuals or groups. There are no calling functionalities on Kik.
One of the primary draws for Kik is its anonymity. The only requirements to register are an email address, name and date of birth. It does not ask for a phone number. The company cannot access historical data such as content or conversations. It has received some criticism as a conduit for illicit activity. Kik is highly popular among millennials and teens with over 240 million users.
Photo by Clique Images on Unsplash.
Join Guild 🤝
See for yourself how the Guild experience is different to WhatsApp, Slack, LinkedIn or Facebook Groups.
Guild is a safe space to connect, communicate and collaborate with others.
Join us on a platform that is purpose-built for creating groups, communities and networks on mobile.