Telegram Founder Throws Jab At WhatsApp Privacy Issues

Mark Zuckerberg v Pavel Durov
Image Courtesy Forbes

World’s most popular messaging platform has not been having an easy time the past few days after it was revealed that a vulnerability within the app, allowed spyware to be injected into users phones through a simple WhatsApp call, whether answered on unanswered.

Unfortunately for the service, this was not the first time they were on the spot over loopholes that allowed potential spying of users, just a few months ago, there was a similar issue, this time around affecting video calls.

Now, Telegram’s founder and self-proclaimed privacy crusader, Pavel Durov, has written a lengthy article highlighting why he thinks WhatsApp will never be secure.

Mr Durov starts off by pointing out that WhatsApp has a never-ending issue with privacy, every time WhatsApp has to fix a critical vulnerability in their app, a new one seems to appear in its place,” he writes. Durov then highlights that all of WhatsApp security flaws until now, have revolved around areas that are “conveniently suitable for surveillance”, something that he terms could be deliberate backdoors built into the app.

Telegram depiction of WhatsApp

Telegram’s depiction of WhatsApp Privacy Issues

Another security issue that Telegram’s founder points out is that WhatsApp encourages its users to back up their chats in the cloud but does not disclose that backed up messages are not encrypted with the platform’s end-to-end encryption, leaving them vulnerable to access by governments and hackers.

He doesn’t end his privacy attacks with WhatsApp but goes ahead to point out that matters are not any better with Facebook or Instagram – all of which are under Mark Zuckerberg. “Even those who ditched WhatsApp completely are probably using Facebook or Instagram, both of which think it’s OK to store your passwords in plaintext (I still can’t believe a tech company could do something like this and get away with it),” he writes.

While we did attract hundreds of millions of users in the last five years, this wasn’t enough.

Pavel Durov

Interestingly, Durov says that Telegram has not done a good job to save people from the jaws of WhatsApp, “I feel we let humanity down in this whole WhatsApp spyware story. A lot of people can’t stop using WhatsApp, because their friends and family are still on it. It means we at Telegram did a bad job of persuading people to switch over.”

He ends his piece with a call to action, asking current Telegram users to recruit their friends and ditch the use of WhatsApp completely.

Gadgets Africa’s Take:

Truth is, Telegram has always been considered superior to WhatsApp when it comes to usability, features and security. However, just like Durov notes, Telegram is yet to hit the mass market and for it to do so, we will have to see a mass exodus from WhatsApp. Maybe, just maybe, this crusade will bear more fruits.

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