Ultimately, we believe that you should assume that any form of digital communication you use leaves a footprint that can be traced back to you and made available to others. For example:
- Your phone can track where you are even with WiFi and GPS turned off.
- What you type into your phone can be monitored as you type before any encryption.
- Governments and security agencies are increasingly demanding ‘back doors’ to get access to your data whether you think it is private/encrypted or not.
- Your ‘private’ communications (except with your legal adviser) are not protected by law and will be disclosed in court as evidence where relevant.
WhatsApp may be ‘end to end encrypted’ but anyone in a WhatsApp group can export the chat history in plain text and store/publish it anywhere. Likewise, any backups are not encrypted. And there is little you can do about screenshots being published.
Guild is private but does not seek to be ‘secret’
If you want anonymity and deniability then you should probably look at apps with anonymous profiles, ephemeral messaging, no advertising etc. There are much better alternatives for that than WhatsApp. Even then, as outlined above, it would be unwise to assume you cannot be traced so be careful what you say.
Guild’s focus is on building trust, professional communities and better business relationships. Guild is about real connection and collaboration. We believe that requires privacy, but not secrecy. Trust requires more authenticity, personal presence, accountability and transparency.
Why Guild is more private and secure than WhatsApp for business messaging
Even if you turn a blind eye to the dangers of using WhatsApp for business there are a lot of ways in which Guild’s ‘privacy by design’ philosophy make it more private and secure for professional messaging than WhatsApp:
- Unlike WhatsApp, Guild does not have your mobile phone number so it cannot be made available for others to use.
- Unlike WhatsApp, Guild does not target you with ads based on tracking your behaviour. Guild has no advertising at all as host organisations pay to use the Guild platform.
- Unlike WhatsApp, all Guild users are bound by the Guild Charter which requires high professional standards of behaviour and mandates the Chatham House rule i.e. contributions cannot be republished or made public without the author’s consent. It is actually against WhatsApp’s terms to use it for anything professional.
- Unlike WhatsApp, Guild users can request their personal data, including messages, at any time via the app and get the data immediately. With WhatsApp you have to request the data, which takes about 3 days to arrive, and even then only includes account information and settings (not your messages).
- Unlike WhatsApp, in Guild explicit consent is required from a user to accept an invitation to join a group on Guild. In WhatsApp you can be added to a group without your consent unless you change the default settings to allow only certain people to auto-add you.
- Unlike WhatsApp, Guild users can always edit or delete any of their messages so you can better protect your professional reputation and standards. In WhatsApp you cannot delete your messages after approximately one hour except of your own phone.
- Unlike WhatsApp, in Guild if you remove someone from a group, or they choose to leave, they no longer have any access to its content. In WhatsApp all the content is still on their phone and you cannot revoke access unless they chose to delete it themselves.
- Unlike WhatsApp, Guild users can choose to erase all content they have contributed as well as their profile. The account is also pseudonymised so that the individual cannot be tied to any particular content or activities. In WhatsApp you cannot erase what you contributed to a group or the fact that you were in it, which could be professionally damaging.
- Unlike WhatsApp, Guild users cannot export group messages or direct messages or back them up to an external place. In WhatsApp anyone in the group can export the chat history and do whatever they like with it, unencrypted.