What is WhatsApp and is it safe?
WhatsApp is a texting and calling app that has been around since 2009. It is one of the most popular communication apps in the world, if not the most popular, and is available on all mobile platforms. It is known for being safe and easy to use.
How does it work?
It allows cross-platform messaging via data services, meaning that an internet connection, either mobile data or WiFi, is used to send messages, rather than the text limit offered by a phone operator. You can also make free international calls – as long as both parties use WhatsApp.
This also means that it is possible to send messages through WhatsApp even if there is no regular reception if the user connects to a WiFi service. To set it up, users need to download it from their app store and confirm their phone number once. After entering a confirmation code sent via traditional text message to their number, users can use the messaging service without being charged as a text message.
Tip: Although data usage is generally very low, it still requires some data. Users with low mobile data allowances are advised to monitor usage and connect to Wifi networks whenever possible to keep data usage low.
What makes WhatsApp so special?
It’s known for its strong privacy features — end-to-end encryption among them. E2EE is an encryption tool that ensures that every communication, be it messages, images or anything else, can be accessed and seen only by the participants in the conversation. In a chat between two people, only those two people can see what’s in the chat. In a group conversation, only members of the group can view messages.
In addition, WhatsApp also offers a web service that allows you to use WhatsApp in your browser. You can’t use all the features (for example, voice and video calls are not available), but you can still send and receive messages, pictures, and more.
The entire messaging app runs completely ad-free, making it convenient for users. There are different types of customization features that users can take advantage of to make the app their own – much more so than most messaging apps.
Who owns WhatsApp?
WhatsApp is currently owned by Facebook – it bought it in 2014 for $19 billion. When it launched in 2009, the app had 250,000 users. In 2017, the app had 1.2 billion users worldwide. It is available worldwide, although some regions impose restrictions, such as China.