Messenger services have become an integral part of people's everyday lives. You can communicate quickly and easily, and sharing photos, videos, voice messages, and other content is as convenient as it gets.
WhatsApp is one of the best-known and most widely used messenger services with more than one billion users worldwide. In Germany alone, about 35 million people use it. But time and time again, the messenger is criticized for its lack of privacy.
- WhatsApp was bought by Facebook
- What are the advantages of ginlo as a WhatsApp alternative?
- WhatsApp is free. But...
- What is the business model?
- But how does WhatsApp get this data even though it's encrypted?
- WhatsApp wants advertising.
- It is high time for change - and it is entirely in your hands.
WhatsApp was bought by Facebook
WhatsApp is a free messaging app launched in 2009. It’s an American product and thus also has its servers in the US. Initially independent, the messenger was sold to the company Facebook Inc. in 2014 – at a price of 19 billion USD. Since 2016, Facebook has had access to the personal user information WhatsApp collects. Although German users were originally unaffected, this exception ceased to apply in May 2018. Interestingly, this exchange of data takes place even if a WhatsApp user doesn’t even have a Facebook account.
But how does that work?
Learn more about shadow profiles.
What are the advantages of ginlo as a WhatsApp alternative?
ginlo is the counter model: a secure space where all your data is protected against access by third parties. Made and hosted in Germany. As a company based in Munich, we’re tangible, we act under German jurisdiction, and we’re subject to the strict data protection laws in Germany.
|Full encryption: Transport encryption (end-to-end) plus encryption of local data on devices|
|Sending messages, files, images, videos, voice messages, and locations|
(mobile number remains invisible for chat partners)
via ginlo ID
|Reply to a specific message|
|Integrated content channels|
|Audio and video calls|
|Made in Germany/Europe|
Paid model (ginlo Business)
Monetizing your data
FAQ & help pages
WhatsApp is free. But...
... as you can imagine, the development of an app not only takes a lot of work, but also costs a lot of money. Facebook alone employs almost 28,000 people – and of course they all want to be paid for their work. How does this work when providing services for free? Whenever an innovative app offers a wide range of features and high quality, addresses a huge international market, but at the same time is offered for free, you as a user should be careful.
After all, we learned from our parents at a very early age: Nothing comes for free!
What is the business model?
Facebook Inc. (including Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, and Instagram) is one of the most valuable companies in the world with sales of around USD 40.7 billion and a market value of USD 512 billion.
Quite remarkable – after all, it only offers free services.
These are financed by selling the personal and sensitive data of their users, such as gender, age, private address, household income, shopping habits, clothing size, diseases, creditworthiness, political and sexual preferences, and much more.
That means: Either your data will be sold to third parties, or advertisers will be given the opportunity, against payment, to place personalized ads on the platform or in the free app. One way or the other: All this is at the expense of your privacy. Free apps against your most private data – a very bad deal.
But how does WhatsApp get this data even though it's encrypted?
Despite (still existing) end-to-end encryption, using WhatsApp generates a lot of highly sensitive, easy-to-evaluate data, which WhatsApp says it uses to "operate, provide, improve, understand, customize, support, and market our Services.”
This data includes e.g.
- Profile name
- Mobile number
- Profile picture
- Contact, address, and relationship data
- Location data
- Device data, e.g. operating system, device ID, and mobile network
- Connection data
- Usage behavior and log information, e.g. how long and how often a user is online in WhatsApp
- and much more...
All this data is transferred to WhatsApp servers in the US and shared with the parent company Facebook as well as with third parties to enrich and merge user profiles.
ginlo, however, isn’t another ad-based app financed by collecting and selling the data of its users or sharing this data with others. With ginlo for private users, we rely on a traditional business model and finance it via the ginlo Business app, the secure messenger for companies. So no tracking, no profiling, no ads for you in ginlo.
And what’s more: In contrast to WhatsApp and Facebook, ginlo goes far beyond end-to-end encryption. ginlo encrypts your messages not only during transport (end-to-end), but also on your device. To that end, ginlo additionally encrypts all your local files (e.g. images, videos, documents, voice messages) using AES-256. All your text messages are stored in an encrypted database on the device.
And thanks to this full encryption, we as the provider have no access at all.
Normally, the more secure a messenger is, the more complicated it will be for you as a user. ginlo is different. We make sure it’s easy to use, so you don’t need any technical know-how at all.
WhatsApp wants advertising.
Facebook wants to display ads on WhatsApp. According to media reports, there are already concrete plans to show ads in status messages as of 2020 (and it’s just a matter of time for ads to appear in your private chats as well).
Are there any other effects besides advertising?
Yes, on privacy. According to warnings voiced by WhatsApp founders, Facebook plans to "soften" WhatsApp's end-to-end encryption. The aim is to get access to chat content and analyze it for keywords to enable advertisers to show tailor-made ads for every user.
Users are anything but happy about WhatsApp’s advertising plans. Among WhatsApp users, more than half (54%) say ads on WhatsApp would be a reason for them to move to a different messenger.
It is high time for change - and it is entirely in your hands.
We as a provider don’t just want to complain about the fact that privacy is less and less respected, especially in the digital world. We initiated ginlo to offer an alternative, made in Germany: With a transparent subscription model for all those that want to reconquer their privacy.
With ginlo, private remains private. No tracking. No profiling. No ads.