Simplified Privacy

How to Convince Friends to Leave WhatsApp & SMS

One of the challenging aspects of privacy is getting your friends to actually use it. While Signal is very centralized and has metadata leak issues compared to Session, SimpleX, and self-hosted XMPP, it’s still way better than WhatsApp or SMS. So Signal is the low-hanging fruit that can be used to transition low-tech normies in your life to freedom. In this article, we’ll focus on example psychological tactics to shift your friends off WhatsApp and SMS.

When they say:

”But I already use WhatsApp”.

You respond:

“Did you know Signal was made by the same guy who also made WhatsApp? Brian Acton sold WhatsApp to Facebook, but was so disgusted with the spyware and invasion of privacy that he made a similar thing without it. The user interface is very similar and intuitive. It’s so easy my mother uses it. Are you saying your less technically savvy than my mama?”

When they say:

“Why do I need privacy, I have nothing to hide.”

You respond:

“We all want to keep our data secure. Not only is your data sold by big tech, but you’re trusting their security which is often flawed. For example Uber was hacked and customer credit cards were sold on the darkweb. Another example is Microsoft’s emails were hacked, and the data publicly leaked and sold. Now sometimes you get some upside for giving up data, but why trust Facebook’s WhatsApp for no benefit to you, and pure downside?”

When they say:

“I don’t feel comfortable using privacy tools”

You respond:

“You phrase this like we’re hiding from the CIA to do evil stuff. Many of these encryption tools, such as Signal are sponsored in part by the US government for better security. Millions of everyday people use these tools, and they’re widely available in app stores. You know regular text messages called SMS are actually completely in plaintext? It’s a huge weakness for phishing attacks and getting into people’s accounts. Why wouldn’t you want to keep your communications safe?”

When they say:

“It’s just easier to use a regular phone call”

You respond:

“It’s not easier, I travel all the time and then my number changes area codes creating complexity to update my contact list. I don’t even get cell service in {insert other country or area}. I check Signal all the time and do all my personal connections there. I really value your friendship and I want to make sure I don’t miss a call.”

(If you register Signal with a foreign country’s burner number that you got for crypto online, this really drives this one home)

When they say:

“It’s just easier to use WhatsApp”

You respond:

“I dislike WhatsApp because scammers, bots, and strangers over and over message me to try and scam me, which forces me to disable notifications. It’s not easier for me to see your text when I can’t stand to keep filtering through this spam. On the other hand, Signal is used by wealthier and smarter people, so the spammers don’t bother because it’s not profitable to target sophisticated users.”

When they say:

“Everybody I know already uses WhatsApp”

You respond:

“Well all the CEOs and successful entrepreneurs I know use Signal. So by your own admission, this is a great way to increase your social circle for free. We’re all a product of who we know. If the people you know are poor and unresourceful peasants, then maybe they have no value to hackers trying to get corporate secrets. On the other hand, if you have this free and easy to setup app, then when the right opportunity comes, you’ll seem like the right hire for the sophisticated client. Think of Signal like a digital suit. You don’t wear a suit every day, but it’s good to own some nice clothes for when it counts.”

“We can use Signal next time, let’s just do WhatsApp quickly now”

You respond:

“Oh I’m sorry but so many scammers spammed me on the platform, that I cursed one out. Then WhatsApp banned me and my phone number for violating the terms of service with profanity. So I would but I can’t. Why use a service where you have no control?”

“Why are you doing privacy? What do you have to hide?”

You respond:

“It’s not that I’m hiding. It’s that I don’t allow large tech companies to have power over me. I want to control my own data and electronics on my own terms. There is no benefit to giving it away to Google, Facebook, Apple, ect. When it’s just as easy to install Signal and talk to me there. The question is not why am I hiding, it’s why are you for free submitting to their absolute surveillance over every word you say in chat and every thought you have through algorithmic AI monitored feeds? Replace the word privacy with power.”

Conclusion

This is all network effect and psychological norm. So consider reposting or sharing this article to help spread the message of privacy by default. Also if you liked this article, you might also like our other article on tips to improve Signal use. Consider subscribing to find out about new content by Session messenger, via RSS feed, follow on Nostr, or by email.


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