I collected questions about WhatsApp and Threema. See the navigation on this site. Like a FAQ.
Before we start to talk about WhatsApp and why I recomend not to use it, it might make sense to first think about the advantage or disadvantages of messengers in general, no matter which one.
Not everyone needs a messenger. Some people have no idea about messengers. It is totally new for them. Sometimes parents just want to learn about messengers to get a better understanding what might be good or bad for their kids.
Why at all a Messenger?
I have to admit that I do not use my different messenger apps very often myself. You can reach my by phone, by email and by SMS. So why the hell shall I add another „communication channel“ to do the same things, just in different colours? At the end of the day, messengers are only „old wine in new bottles“.
At work I have to use email anyway. This is a „must“ in business life. I can read and write emails easily with my smartphone. I do not know a single person, who does not have an email address.
For quick notes outside of emails, I have SMS. Very easy to use, very convenient. I even do not have to have internet access for this. It works over the mobile network. So why all the fuss about messengers?
In my view there are 2 major advantages of messengers over email and SMS:
- You can share images with your friends easier. This does not work as easy with SMS or Email. The Messenger apps (no matter which one) make this just more convenient.
- If you need chatting in groups, it is easier to set it up in a messenger and it is easier to read all group-discussions in a messenger. This is an advantage if you have to work in teams.
But if you do not need one of these 2 functionalities, stop reading and enjoy your life with more important things. You do not need a messenger.
There are more free apps out there with which you have the same nice colours, layout etc. for SMS or Emails like with a messenger. Email and SMS is also already installed on your smartphone. So why bother with something else?
Some people have mobile-phone contracts with their carrier, which makes the sending of SMS expensive or who have only a very restrictive amount of SMS they can send for free. In that case a messenger might make sense.
But always keep in mind: No internet connection = no Messenger messages. SMS on the other hand works always, even without internet access.
If you are here because of your kids. This is a different story. Kids do not use their smartphone anymore for making phone calls. They use it only for internet access and chats. For kids, a messenger is very important. It is their door to the outside world. Their access to other kids. The whole communication in the kids world is going over messengers. Although they change from one app to the other very fast and very often, depending on what is currently „hipp“ (whatsapp -> snapchat ->instagram etc.)
But why not WhatsApp?
This is the most frequently asked question. The short answer is:
I do not want to give away private data of my friends and family to someone else/companies without asking them beforehand for their permission. You simply do not do something like this. You would neither do this on the street or in a bar. That is common sense. No matter whether it is allowed in your country by law or not. In Europe this is forbidden by law (Search for GDPR).
There are enough alternatives out there which offer the same features like WhatsApp but do not force you to send the private data of your friends and family to them. Simply use „the good“ messengers, not „the bad“ ones. Get over your lazyness. You will not disconnect from the world and your friends will still like you even if you do not use WhatsApp anymore 😉
In some European countries like Germany you act against the law just by installing WhatsApp on your smartphone. Whether you use it or not. Be aware of that.
It does not help if millions of other people act against the law too. This is of no interest for a judge. It is like copying illegal music. In Germany there is already a court decision regarding this and the mother had to pay a significant fine plus she had to get a written confirmation of all the friends of her son which are in the address book of her sons smartphone, that they agree to give their private data to WhatsApp through him. More information about this court decision here (scroll then down).
Attention: If you use a smartphone of your company and business contact data are stored on that smartphone, you have to delete WhatsApp from that smartphone. More information here.
There is a very good explanation in the press material of Threema. I could not have expressed it better:
„Threema is more than a chat app. Threema is a statement.
A statement against systematic collection of user data by companies and mass surveillance by authorities.
A statement for privacy.“