Tech types! Hear me now!
When it comes to a private texting app, please reply below after voting to briefly explain why you use/recommend...

I was looking around online about Threema, and one of the downsides mentioned at times is people saying that they switch to the app and then don't have any contacts.
Does Threema not access contact lists? Meaning, can Threema users only contact other Threema users (which is how some users are really making it sound)?

@reay Threema's always had a better track record than Signal, but it's not well known. I'd always use it over Signal if I can.

@feld Better in terms of what, though? Part of the issue with hunting down this kind of thing online is that I know a bit about the tech aspect of it but not nearly enough to hang with anyone talking detailed coding/process/security/privacy protocols. Threema is a client to access XMPP/the Matrix network, yes? So if I understand that correctly, what makes it better than Session (or the seemingly late Element) that I understand does the same? Just UI preference, or stability, or...?

@reay Threema is not an XMPP or Matrix client. It's an independent chat platform that is fully E2EE, comes out of Switzerland.

They have transparency reports:

and a thorough code audit confirming their crypto is solid: (they've had multiple audits, actually)

Check the comparison too:

they self-host their server infrastructure, not using AWS or Google Cloud etc
@reay signal and threema are nothing better than rebranded whatsapp. session is a cool idea but pretty unstable rn. btw there is also briar, which is like session but instead of lokinet they use tor.
I use xmpp, on android conversations and on desktop dino. works fine for me, is non-centralized and has been stable for many years.

@reay I mainly use Signal with family and friends. I'm a member of local Ingress group on Telegram, but at work, unfortunately, we have a WhatsApp group (and I can't really do anything about it). I have muted it and use sporadically. I have installed Threema a long time ago and I'd like to use it, but I don't know a single person who I could text using it. ;)

@przemek Sorry, just unclear on why you don't know anyone you could text using Threema. Is it particularly complex in use, or you mean no one using it as well (to some benefit I'm unaware of), or... ?

@reay i like that its not owned by fb. Tbh I didn't look too hard because I wanted to find one that was commonly used but without as many security flaws as WhatsApp

@itchystitchies Thanks for the feedback. Just to check, this was a vote for Signal?


I use Signal due to contacts lock-in but gradually migrating to Matrix, which I use a lot already.

Matrix is fully open-source both server and client side, has E2EE and is pretty usable and you can bridge it to ANYTHING of your choice.

Signal is usable and kind of open-source but actively blocks any alternative clients, forcing you to use the official client only.

@reay I've been using signal for years, before other players were really in the space. but im all that time I only managed to get 3 ppl on it. If I switch, I'll have no one at all :(

@reay Threema, the only messenger that literally knows nothing of you. No Google servers, not America based, not subject to the Cloud Act.

Element/Matrix self hosted server for the work team. Privately WhatsApp because I don’t move my network.

Not a techy, but a main Problem of leaving WA often are other people who don't want to change.
Signal seems to be more approachable for many people. I use both, but I got way more contacts on signal...

@reay Signal because it's secure and, well, I haven't heard of the other two. Not a good sign in cases like this where network effects are important

@lastfuture @reay ah yeah, i think this was as far as I read before downloading and was kinda sold on it

@reay @lastfuture Signal. Because of EFF and Snowden endorsement/recommendation.

@reay I would recommen Matrix + Element for both private and public chats. The federated system returns the power to the people: You can use your own client program (which Signal for example does not allow) and you can set up your own server (so metadata does not pile up on a centralized server). Be careful with selecting a server!

@reay #deltachat because it's kinda decentralised and can be fully private when both parties use it.

@reay Signal because it is an acceptable compromise and many peers have it. Signal's Electron client does not spark joy in my heart, but it sucks slightly less than Threema's web client which permanently loses the connection and forces you to manually restart the session on your phone (because apparently you would need Google Play services for that to work automatically, wtf). Also, Theema apparently can't do push notifications without Google. Signal does not seem to have that problem.

@reay Matrix, because federated E2E encrypted and we can host our own servers and still talk to each other without involvement of a 3rd party server.

@reay #matrix

Optionally self hosted, federated, choice of frontend.

@reay signal since it early days because of open source clients and servers, a lot of features and really good crypto. But I'd like to use XMPP via conversations more often because it is not centralized and I can run my own server.


Mostly #Threema.

But also #Langis (google-free Signal) and #Conversations (xmpp).

Threema most, because of the most contacts, no phone number or email required, and very easy to install. Stable Server infrastructure with servers in Swiss and thus not USA.

But the other two are also excellent choices, otherwise I would not use them.

I use signal mostly because of those it is the most widely adopted. And it is not super easy to drag people into the space.

@reay Session, very anonymous. uses decentralized service nodes, doesn't require a phone number or email to sign up. Account IDs are anonymous and its very hard to link people together

@reay Something else like matrix or xmpp. The reason: Independance from a single company.

@reay @esopriester Threema and Telegram, mainly because that’s were my contacts are. I do have Signal installed too though

@reay threema because as an early adopter it had more features than redphone/signal at the time. got stuck to it but also use signal.

My preference is XMPP, as this is not dependent on a single entity. Also it is very lean on server side and the defacto usage is quite decentralised as well.

@reay I was able to get all my friends onto signal somehow, I'm not gonna complain because that's honestly good enough

@reay Signal is like WhatsApp. You have to enter your phone number and find contacts through your address book. E2E encryption is handled in the background so nobody sees it, so it's not secure against man in the middle attacks. Threema didn't made these mistakes. They put encryption in the centre of the app. You can scan the codes of others and get visible hints if you did it. So it prevents man in the middle attacks and it's also fun to collect and no phone number is needed.

@reay honestly havent looked into the other messaging apps. But for signal its end to end encrypted, as far as I know hasn't shared user data to government agencies, and I'm also pretty certain that they don't hold your private keys in any databases

For reference: Session is connected to the alt-right scene. Therefore it should not be supported.
See for example:

Please don't @ me if you think these politics should not affect your decision to use the app. Supporting alt-right people and projects is not debatable for me. :antifa:

@The_Observer6955 Interesting. I hadn't heard anything about that before. Thanks for the info.

@anniki Sorry, who doesn't? Not sure what your choice was. :)

@reay threema. You can use it with out connecting a mobile number or email, if you want to.

@reay @lastfuture I use Nextcloud Chat and XMPP with conversations. Nextcloud also has an XMPP app that can link the account and makes a good web interface for texting. Conversations will also do voice and video calling making it a great use for kids communication with adults.

If they want to contact you with threema, they need to have threema themself.
It's like other messengers. Who isn't with fb can't reach you with fb messenger.

But you can tell them your id by sms.

@reay Threema is able to use the contact list. Per default it's disabled as they want to protect the privacy. But you can enable it that the contact list will be synchronised.

@reay the app do have access to contact list if you allow it.

@reay I haven't read what's wrong with XMPP with the latest OMEMO encryption... Like others have said, Conversations is a great client.

matrix/element i did not know about session yet, element is available, federated, encrypted and foss.

@zem Ah! I didn't know Element was back.
Does it have access to contact lists, or is it only usable by others on Element as well?

@reay Element was never really gone!

That google censor process is a bit discussable though, they once even "accidently" banned a video from youtube for reading the german constitution. 😂

@reay Oh, and, as far as I am aware, element has no access to the phonebook and does not sign up by using a phone number, if thats what you mean.

@zem Sorry, to clarify: Could Element be swapped out for Signal, which is what I'm currently using, to freely text (and be texted by) existing contacts? Or like I'm learning Session and Threema seem to be, is it more to communicate to people within that same (XMPP) network and not usable as a wide-reaching texting client?

@reay If you mean using Telephone numbers as contact IDs, I am happy that Element does not have that antifeature and is using nicknames instead as handle.

Neither threema nor signal or session are using xmpp, they have implemented their own protocol.

The matrix network is federated and has bridges (for example to the irc network)

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