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Ever since WhatsApp was acquired by Facebook and made its services free for all to access. Security conscious users have always been, not at ease, since the parent company (Facebook Inc.) has yet introduced advertisement to the platform.

If you understand how Facebook operates, then you probably know that it is one of the biggest advertising companies around the globe. Right up there alongside the advertisement heavyweights like Google. Yet, four years down the line, WhatsApp has become entirely free for all to use and is not serving you any ads.

We all know there is nothing like free lunch. Though there have been reports about WhatsApp going to start serving ads that has yet to come to pass. However, in the meantime (now that it is not serving ads) what could we be trading in exchange for free access to the popular messaging service?

I would like to say, your guess is as good as mine, but we all suspect we might be trading our data in exchange for free access to the instant messaging service. And perhaps you have gotten used to it!

Well, if that’s the case, this post is going to be bad news for you. There are credible reports that WhatsApp will soon start serving you advertisement. If you were comfortable trading your device usage data (read private data) for accessing WhatsApp for free, when they start serving you ads at the same time acting as a funnel for collecting your data it would obviously become less appealing. And should you decide to ditch it for an alternative instant messaging app, try any of the suggested alternatives below:

Telegram: Probably the best-known WhatsApp competitor. It comes with multiple features including Secret Chats with end-to-end encryption, screenshot prevention, and disappearing messages.

Signal: This free messaging app uses open-source encryption protocol (Signal protocol) that provide end-to-end encryption for all your messages. Security experts say the advantage of using open-source encryption, is that anybody qualified and interested and investigate the encryption protocol for any flaws. With Signal, you still get the same voice and video calls, though it doesn’t quite measure up to WhatsApp in the animated emoji department.

Wire: This app also comes with end-to-end encryption. It is interesting to note that it was created by Janus Friis, the co-founder of Skype. To sign up, you will need either your phone number or email. It has features designed for both personal and professional use, and all communication via the app are The premium account enables users to take advantage of full administrative calls, video conferencing, and guest rooms for external parties. All these communications are encrypted.

Threema: This is a privacy-focused messaging app that guarantees users their messages will be deleted from the servers as soon as they’re delivered. It also offers end-to-end encryption for all text, voice, and video messages. The same goes for any documents and files you share via the app. One advantage this messaging platform has over WhatsApp (or any other app in this list for that matter) is the fact that you don’t need to provide your phone number or email address to register. During sign up, you are given a random eight-digit ID as your identification. However, it is a premium app; meaning you will have to part with some little money to start using it.

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