I know that the best user-friendly messenger to use is Signal. I know there are other cool messengers and protocols like Matrix/Element and Session. Because of my predicament, I would like to keep this discussion specifically to comparing SMS and WhatsApp.
Ain’t nobody want to use Signal around me. I’ve pitched it to multiple people with no dice. Signal will remain on my phone as a beacon to friends and family for whenever they become enlightened, but I have to make due in the meantime.
There are other threads on here about trying to figure out how to sell people on E2EE messengers.
What I need to decide is which of these two options I will default two when I have the option: SMS and phone calls vs WhatsApp. These are what I can reasonably expect to use.
Everyone’s got SMS. It’s basic texting. The benefit of using this is that it’s the default for everyone.
However, it is easily the least private option as the only thing “secure” about it is that you’d have to get into my phone to see texts. Otherwise they’re unencrypted and flying over the air between destinations. Phone calls are in a similar boat. Anyone who wanted to get their hands on my communication could do so with the right technical know-how.
Not to mention any potentially logging that is already happening by my carrier.
This messenger is almost ubiquitous in my part of the world, to the point where I can reasonably assume to find people on it. The only reason it doesn’t dominate is because I’m in the US and iMessage maintains it’s spot in the market.
The benefits are encrypted chat and calls as well as other nice to have chat features like read receipts, disappearing messages, and reactions. And the fact that all of this is over the internet makes it faster and, in the case of calls, much clearer.
The cons are… you know. It’s owned by Meta. I do trust that it’s actually end-to-end encrypted, but Meta gets to keep all of the meta data that my presence and exchanges create. Everyone is kept out except for Zuck, which is still not a great feeling.
What should I default to? What would you default to in my place? What other mitigations, benefits, or concerns should I keep in mind in order to decide?
I know these aren’t great options to choose from, but if we could focus replies on specific solutions, that would be great. I know these are trash options from the perspective of many in the privacy community, but I’m trying to lean into the best options I got.