Off the Beaten Path
Join me on an adventure. Where will we go today?
Isn’t that the old messaging system sent over wires?
For the less internet-savvy person, both companies may be something you hear on the news. For the global citizens who communicate regularly around the world, both are free with paid options for instant messaging services using Voice Over IP (the internet). HINT: if you meet someone on social media and they want to immediately jump to either of these messaging systems, there is a good chance they are a scammer and know their social media account could be disconnected anytime. If they move you to an instant messaging system, they can stay in contact with their victims.
WhatsApp is owned now by Meta Platforms, formerly known as FaceBook. It is easily accessible through a phone app on both iPhones and Androids and from laptops and personal computers. A cell phone number is required to sign up, which is how individuals are linked. Using WhatsApp allows users to send text, record and send voice messages, and video messages. Users can make voice and video calls and share pictures, documents, and other media. It is the world’s most popular messaging center and by 2016, the main internet communications of Latin America, the Indian subcontinent, most of Europe, and Africa. Remember the hint earlier about scammers? There are internet cafes that easily allow access in Nigeria and other countries. English is the official language so all school children receive a rudimentary knowledge of English.
WhatsApp has been in the USA from its inception to its acquisition by Meta Platforms. Telegram is not as transparent. It is interesting to me that WhatsApp is a direct competitor to FaceBook Messenger, a common instant messaging service in the USA. Meta owns both. It looks to me like WhatsApp has a higher resolution of pictures when sent but that is just my perception.
Today, Telegram is a British Virgin Island company registrar and Dubai LLC. We do not know where offices are located or what company even runs the locations. Security and secrecy concerns are cited to protect their users. The founders started in Russia but moved when the Russian government took over the original company. Since 2014, it is rumored the founders move often with a dozen or so knowledgeable core members, traveling from country to country. Berlin, Germany, was the temporary headquarters in 2014 but not everyone on the team acquired residency permits. Telegram corporate has been based in Dubai since 2017 with a lot of shell companies to resist any government subpoenas or compliance requests.
Telegram boasts end-to-end encryption for chats, video calls, and fire sharing. It is available on iPhones, Androids, laptops, and personal computers. It is believed there are five data centers around the world to help distribute the loads and speed access.
In 2021, it was the most downloaded global app. This year, Telegram has over 800 million monthly active users and is the most popular instant messaging application in the Middle East and Eastern Europe.
I have used both but I find myself talking to my friends more on Telegram than WhatsApp. Both constantly have updates. I like Telegram’s privacy policies:
At the end of the day, it depends on who I want to talk with and where they are located in the world for my choice of messaging services. My friends in Asia and I usually use Telegram. My friends in Europe use WhatsApp. My American friends and I use FaceBook Messenger. All work well and are instantaneous.