Former WhatsApp staff wage war on Facebook with HalloApp

By: News Desk      Published: 03:29 PM, 21 Jul, 2021
Former WhatsApp staff wage war on Facebook with HalloApp
Representational image.

HalloApp is the new instant messaging app for users, their friends, and family, and one that's been built by ex-WhatsApp executives.

With WhatsApp appearing to have lost users following its recent privacy policy changes, there may be some that are looking for alternative communication methods. Security and privacy are ever-increasingly important features and apps that place a focus on these are starting to become available for users to switch to.

WhatsApp was first founded in 2009 and was meant to be a messaging network for friends and family. There were never supposed to be ads present and the whole structure was designed to be private.

Then, Facebook came along and showed interest in the messaging network, eventually purchasing the company and making its own adjustments.

Before Facebook acquired WhatsApp, the chief business officer was Neeraj Arora, and Michael Donohue was WhatsApp's engineering director up until leaving Facebook in 2019. These WhatsApp employees weren't the only ones to jump ship, considering it was also previously reported that WhatsApp's cofounders left Facebook over disagreements on how to monetize the service.

HalloApp, released for the public on Monday last, is designed to be the "first real-relationship network." Arora and Donohue created this app with the goal of offering a healthier and more down-to-earth social network that allows users to stay close with the people they actually care about instead of being bombarded with users they have no interest in.

In a blog post, Neeraj Arora likened social media to a "21st century cigarette" and explained that with HalloApp, there are "No ads. No bots. No likes. No trolls. No followers. No algorithms. No influencers. No photo filters. No 'feed fatigue.' No misinformation spreading like wildfire." HalloApp is hoping to cater to those who have grown tired of how modern social networking sites currently work.

The app is laid out across four main tabs. There is a home feed, where friends and family can post either text, photos or anything else. The next two tabs are for group chats and direct messages, with the last reserved for the settings. Overall, the app does live up to its 'simple' idea, as the UI is very clean and has no ads. The home page's feed is also neat and doesn't feel too crowded even with a page full of photos or posts. An important point to note is that sent messages are encrypted and even HalloApp can't obtain them. Unsurprisingly, a lot of HalloApp's chat features are very similar to the current version of WhatsApp.

While free at the moment, The Verge reports that HalloApp plans on charging a subscription in the future, much like WhatsApp did before being acquired. At present, there are no details on how much the fee is likely to be for users who decide to stick with the service. Either way, the former WhatsApp employees have made an indirect statement against Facebook, and it looks like they're out to change things for good.