Privacy on Telegram app even worse than Whatsapp, Turkish experts say

Aynur Tekin reports: Turkish experts have warned that switching to chatting app Telegram out of privacy concerns on WhatsApp was in fact a downgrade. WhatsApp, once Turkey's favorite chatting app, saw a mass out-migration in 2021 after they released an upgrade on their privacy conditions that allowed more sharing.

Aynur Tekin / DUVAR

Turkish users who switched to using chatting app Telegram because of privacy concerns on American WhatsApp have in fact compromised the safety of their data, Turkish experts said on an online debate organized by the Turkish Computer Engineers Chamber.

Users switched out of the former Turkish favorite WhatsApp during the first days of the new year as WhatsApp updated their privacy terms to expand data sharing with their parent company Facebook, infamous for their reluctance to protect user information. 

"Switching from WhatsApp to Telegram is a step towards insecurity where your messages can be screened in real time," Diyar Saraçoğlu of the Alternative Media Association said. 

WhatsApp's privacy update will sell user data to advertising companies to allow them to create targeted advertisements, Saraçoğlu noted, adding that the update was useful in creating mass awareness about data sharing among the Turkish public for the first time.

Meanwhile, domestic alternatives like Turkish giant Turkcell's BiP application are not entirely "Turkish," because databases used to create code are inevitably imported, Saraçoğlu added. 

"It's best to check whether an application is an open source, rather than looking at where it was created."

Telegram doesn't even have end-to-end encryption to protect messages, Saraçoğlu added, another feature that's a downgrade from WhatsApp.