Is WhatsApp necessary in life

Is there a social life without WhatsApp?

WhatsApp terms and conditions: Are you also considering changing the app?

Delete WhatsApp or grudgingly agree to the new terms of use? There is still time for this decision until Saturday. “Blue News” asked around on the street to see what users are doing now.


In theory, our editor has long wanted to get out of the data octopus. In practice, however, she has many concerns and questions. She provides this to our digital expert.

#By Laura Hüttenmoser and Dirk Jacquemien


Transparency: A first version of this article appeared on January 14, 2021 and has now been updated based on recent events.

"Are you going to delete WhatsApp?" I have been asked this question again and again in the past few days. The occasion? Users worldwide have to agree to the updated data protection regulations, otherwise Facebook threatens to limit functionality soon.

This is of course an occasion for me to question my use of the messenger app. I deleted my Facebook profile years ago. So why do I still willingly share information with the group such as my cell phone number, my device and connection data or my location? The honest answer is, because I'm too lazy to think it through. Because everyone, really everyone of my contacts uses the app, even my parents. So what would an exit mean?

I'm trying to find out in conversation with our digital expert Dirk Jacquemien.

Laura Dear Dirk. I know that there are good alternatives to WhatsApp such as the “Signal”, “Telegram” or “Threema” apps, even a Swiss company that does not collect user data. Unfortunately, nobody I know uses it. So would I have to get all of my contacts to switch if I turn my back on WhatsApp?

Hello dear Laura. Yes, all of your contacts would of course have to install the apps as well. But that wouldn't really be too much of a burden. Signal is completely free, you have to pay three francs once for Threema. Friendship should be worth that much.

Laura Maybe your close friends do that, most of them don't. What does that mean in consequence? Either stay with WhatsApp or am I no longer available for the majority of my contacts?

Well, there are still SMS, phone and carrier pigeons. And your absence from WhatsApp could be the last remaining motivation for your contacts to try out an alternative app.

Laura: But realistically, that's not going to happen. If someone (2022?) Organizes a birthday party, the group chat with 20 people will probably not be moved to another app because of me. It doesn't feel like an individual decision, but a collective one. You are where the majority is - sad but true.

That's true, of course, but to be honest it sounds a bit fatalistic. After all, someone has to start, why not be part of the avant-garde? And you mentioned that you deleted your Facebook account some time ago. Almost ten years ago that would have been unthinkable, since almost every party was organized as a “Facebook event”. But no platform will last forever.

Are you considering deleting WhatsApp?
Laura I have an iPhone, iMessage would be an alternative. But does it look any better in terms of data protection than WhatsApp?

At least unlike Facebook, Apple does not have a reputation for messing up user data wherever possible. The messages in iMessage are end-to-end encrypted, but of course it is not entirely free of security gaps.
The biggest problem with iMessage is, of course, that you can only communicate with other iPhone owners. If your circle of friends does not consist exclusively of Apple fanboys, iMessage would not be a suitable replacement for WhatsApp.

Laura Which safer alternative offers the same functionality as WhatsApp? Group chats, voice recordings or (video) calls are important to me.

You're in luck Both Threema and Signal support almost all of these features. Only group calls are not possible with Threema, but with Signal they are.

Laura What kind of interfaces are there? For example, could I transfer my WhatsApp conversations or group chats to another app?

That is certainly the biggest hurdle. Old WhatsApp chats cannot be transferred correctly to the other apps, so you would start there on blank paper first. What you can do, however, is to export your individual and group chats from WhatsApp before deleting your WhatsApp account. At least you have a personal archive of all your conversations over the last few years.
To export, simply open the desired individual or group chat on WhatsApp, touch the name above and then go to «Export chat» in the settings. Now you can choose whether only the text messages or also sent media are exported, and then send it to yourself, for example by e-mail.

WhatsApp chats can be saved so that you can still remember nice conversations without the app.


On Signal, there is a simple method to bring groups you know from WhatsApp back together. After you have created a group there, go to its setting and select «Group link». A link will now be created that you can send to all members of the old WhatsApp group in order to recreate them on Signal.

With links to signal groups, you can bring your old WhatsApp friends back together in a group with the same structure.

Laura: I always fail to think things through to the end. Basically, I don't want my data to be used as a commodity with which an unregulated, overpowering company makes billions (and doesn't even pay taxes for it). But is there even a way back once you're inside? More specifically: If I want to be consistent, would I also have to delete my Google account, including all the apps that I use every day, such as Gmail, Google Maps or the Chrome browser?

Consistently yes. Because virtually every Google product collects considerably more personal data than WhatsApp does. But even Google is not without alternatives. For example, Apple Maps can be used as a map app, and Firefox as a browser. There are also other providers for the search engine function.

Laura What exactly would a WhatsApp exit look like? Would I have to send a message to everyone I would ever want to be in contact with again?

That would be advisable. Conveniently, there are broadcast lists for this on WhatsApp. With this you can tell all your contacts at once where you can be found in the future.

Laura Last but not least, it makes me wonder, of course: Do you have WhatsApp installed?

I have to admit, yes I have. My excuse: I need it for work.

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