Indeed, in early January, WhatsApp announced that it was getting closer to its parent company Facebook, providing it with more information through a common database.
Dissatisfied, users have been asking around and turning to new instant messaging applications, guaranteeing them a greater respect for their privacy. Among them, a ten-year-old application: Viber.
Viber was created in 2010 by Israeli entrepreneur Talmon Marco, former IT director of the Israeli Defense Forces in the 1990s. From its inception, this instant messaging application has had one goal: to ensure secure exchanges by protecting users' data.
For four consecutive years, Talmon Marco and his teams seek to develop the company's reputation. But it was not until 2014 that the company became a real success. Viber is indeed bought by the Japanese Internet services company, Rakuten.
And this rise does not stop there as three years later, 2017 is presented as the company’s rebirth. Frenchman Djamel Agoua was first appointed as head of Viber Media to take care of the service specializing in mobile advertising. A few months after this appointment, Viber changed its name and logo in July and officially became "Rakuten Viber."
To crown this year of changes, Djamel Agoua announced the company's new objectives in a press release to the Israeli economic press. With 260 million users, the main goal was to reach 2 billion users in 2020(1).
An ambitious figure that will never be reached. In 2019, Viber had only 400 million users(2), mainly in Eastern European countries.
Djamel Agoua is not discouraged and remains confident in the potential of his company. He is banking on his company's principles, which are none other than high data protection, to conquer the market.
Two years later, the controversy caused by WhatsApp could allow the messaging application to increase its visibility among new users and make them discover its very secure system. Promoting the respect of privacy, the application encrypts all exchanges and calls.
During account creation, necessary information is collected to ensure the proper functioning of the application. Name, email, date of birth, age, phone number, and if necessary, billing information is the only information required at the time of registration.
Other data can be collected afterward, but these are optional and are provided by the user if he/she wishes to complete his/her profile. Informing other users of his birthday or allowing access to the address book is an example of options.
Thus, once the user logs in via their social networks, they agree to provide ongoing access to some of their data (mentioned above).
Security being the main objective of Viber, many protection techniques are used. Firewalls, encryption of exchanges, reinforced controls during physical access to data centers... are all solutions that ensure maximum protection of information.
Since messages and calls are encrypted from end to end, no exchange can be read or listened to. Moreover, messages are not stored on servers but are directly deleted once the message is delivered. If the message is not opened for any reason, it remains in the database for a maximum of 2 weeks, after which it is deleted.
The information is thus transmitted to the Viber family of companies, including the parent company Rakuten. Also, the information may be shared with third parties who ensure the application's proper functioning, including detecting illegal activities, spam, etc.
A model that is perhaps more balanced than the sector's giants, which could please... to be followed.
(1)Globes, "Viber talking on the global giants," 2017
(2)OBS, "The French shun Viber: yet we are more secure than WhatsApp and Telegram," 2019