WhatsApp vs Facebook Messenger vs Telegram: the ultimate comparison

WhatsApp vs Facebook Messenger vs Telegram: the ultimate comparison

WhatsApp, Telegram and Facebook Messenger are three of the finest messaging services around. Though all of them offer the same basic functionality, each has its own individual strengths. Find out all of the pros and cons of these services in our WhatsApp vs Facebook Messenger vs Telegram comparison.

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Facebook Messenger vs Telegram vs WhatsApp: which is best? / © ANDROIDPIT

Telegram Messenger – what's good?

The major advantages that Telegram offers are security and privacy. Neither WhatsApp nor Facebook Messenger comes close to the encryption that Telegram’s secret chats employ. WhatsApp has improved in recent times – to the point where it has threatened Telegram’s relevancy – but Facebook Messenger lags behind.  

Telegram offers the option to set up secret chats between two people. These chats utilize end-to-end encryption – a level of security neither Facebook Messenger nor WhatsApp provide – and even allows you to create self-destructing messages. These secret messages are a valuable, if flawed, idea (see below) and give Telegram a USP.

Telegram includes the vast majority of features that both WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger have, including the ability to send videos, pictures, audio and voice clips. It even offers minor details like custom notification LED color (like in WhatsApp) and stickers (as in Messenger).  

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Telegram's not-so-secret-chats (left) and regular chat window (right). / © ANDROIDPIT

Telegram Messenger – what's bad?

The major area where Telegram struggles to compete with Facebook and WhatsApp (besides the smaller userbase) is that it lacks free voice calling, which may deter some people who would otherwise adopt Telegram. 

What's more, there are a few niggles with Telegram's secret messages. Notably, you can screenshot the conversations contents. What is the purpose of having self-destructing messages if they can be saved without your consent anyway? These messages still have end-to-end encryption, and the both parties are notified when a screenshot is taken. But preventing these screenshots would have truly elevated Telegram above the competition.

Lastly, Telegram doesn't have a browser-based service like WhatsApp and Facebook do. 

Facebook Messenger – what's good?

Facebook Messenger seems like it has been around forever. It has a clean, light blue interface, and informs you when your contacts are online (either on Messenger or Facebook). You can chat with individuals and groups.

You can text non-Messenger friends using their phone number, send media including pictures, stickers, GIFs and voice messages, continue chatting while in other apps via the use of Chat Heads, and share location information with your friends. Messenger also allows you to make free calls internationally to other friends using the service and, since 2015, you can even use it without having a Facebook account.

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The unmistakable blue and white Facebook Messenger interface. / © ANDROIDPIT

Facebook Messenger – what's bad?

For starters, you can't log out of Facebook Messenger within the app itself: there is no logout button. To get out, you need to go to Settings > Applications > Manage Applications. Then open Messenger and hit Clear Data. You also don't have control over notifications like you do in the other apps. 

Possibly the biggest downside of Facebook Messenger is with regards to privacy and security. It's not like Facebook offers absolutely no protection, and it is improving its encryption, but there are many opportunities for your location to be revealed, and you need to use your real name (unlike on WhatsApp and Telegram).

WhatsApp – what's good?

WhatsApp is probably the most well-run instant messaging service available, handling more instant messages in a day than the entire global SMS industry. WhatsApp uses your telephone number (and that of your friends) to set up an account so new contacts are added as soon as you get their phone number, assuming they use WhatsApp too. Unlike Facebook, it is not linked to a larger service.

WhatsApp allows you to send free instant messages to anyone you know with the app installed and you can chat with individuals or groups. You can send videos, pictures, voice messages and location data, and it also features some easy-to-use sharing features and has a huge array of emoticons to spice up your messages. What's more, WhatsApp supports free voice calls

Of the three apps in our list, the one that most people are likely to use is WhatsApp.

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WhatsApp does almost everything and even has a low data usage setting. / © ANDROIDPIT

WhatsApp – what's bad?

WhatsApp, while providing a good core service, is light on extras. There are no moving stickers or mini games and it is yet to support GIFs. As with Messenger, you can't log out of WhatsApp (because it uses your phone number), and moving it between different devices can be a pain.

Features at a glance

  Facebook Messenger WhatsApp Telegram
Free Yes No (99 cents annual subscription fee) Yes
Free voice calling Yes Yes No
Account requirements Facebook account or telephone number Telephone number Telephone number
Time stamps and read confirmations Yes Yes Yes
Automatic backup of messages Yes (via Facebook website) Yes (daily 4 PM) Yes
Security reputation Not great Recently improved (messages are encrypted) Excellent
Send pictures Yes Yes Yes
Send videos Yes Yes Yes
Send GIFs Yes No No
Send stickers Yes No Yes
Send voice messages Yes Yes Yes
Search function Yes Yes Yes
Send location data Yes Yes Yes
Option to log out No No Yes
Video calling No No No
Set wallpapers No Yes Yes
Customize notifications Only on or off Yes Yes


There is no definitive best messaging app and no clear loser here. WhatsApp has the most users and, for this reason, is probably the most convenient messaging app to use. It also provides voice calls, but the app isn't free (though the cost is minimal).

Facebook Messenger lets you can contact anyone who has added you on Facebook, and it also has voice calling, while Telegram has the best security, and allows you to log out of the service whenever you want.

If you don't already use any of these apps and want our advice on which to download, we'd say WhatsApp, simply because it does almost everything right and has hundreds of millions of users, so you're most likely to find more of your friends on there.

Discover more options in our Best instant messenger apps for Android feature.

Which messaging app do you think is best? Let us know in the comments.

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  • Ian Sep 22, 2018 Link to comment

    Key bit you're missing? Messenger and telegram work on a pc or tablet, what's app doesn't or at least not reliably without keeping authenticating on the phone.

  • A nice collection of Instant messaging app.

  • The best least data usage messenger app is Zangi. Easy to use, safe, doesn't keep your messages in servers. Plus works everywhere from 2G/EDGE to noisy Wi-Fi and Satellite networks. Activating the "Low data usage" mode allow you to talk up to 9 minutes on voice call using 1MB of the Internet. No other messaging app can do it.

  • SUbbu Aug 25, 2016 Link to comment

    Telegram is by far the best messenger, it has a world in its own.

    Note: Telegram notifies the other user when a screenshot is taken in secure chat. you get caught red handed.


    Channels with unlimited member, Super groups with 5000 members, Public and Private (invite only) groups. Whatsapp is like a little kid with a big mouth!

    FB messenger - I'm not even interested!

    Audio - I would rather make a call! after all that's what a mobile is for.

  • For a more thorough features comparison, check out the post "Instant messaging systems comparison" at krige dot wordpress dot com

  • Facebook Messenger does have video calling.

  • To add to the variety of corrections: whatsapp is now free, and has been for some time - it's been punting the $1 into the long grass since before being bought by Facebook.

  • This article is so full of false information.... please do at least SOME research before posting. Or stop entirely.

  • HI Scott, did you know that ALL businesses can support their own customers via Facebook Messenger directly on the website with Zotabox's easy to use integration tool? Messenger is free, convenient and also lets customers pay businesses directly through it. With over 800 million active users Messenger wants to become the new B2C platform. I think website owners would be smart to embrace this trend. What do you think?

  • Telegram not only has a web based version, they also have native apps for Mac and Windows, so im not sure how much research was done for this

  • Telegram supports gifs. Your article needs an update

  • Actually Hike is way better than WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger and Telegram.It's completely free and offers a wide range of stickers.It provides free calling features and has conference call too.Groups can have 500 members which is much higher compared to WhatsApp

  • I just wanted to inform u, if u download hike messenger then u can send the whole lot of stickers present there, in any other messaging app like whatsapp or FBM. It also has the ability to hide messages. And If the people in the chat are inside a radius of 100m (like in a college campus) then they can do hike without using Internet.

  • can u consider more apps like : Hike Messenger, Kik, etc.

  • Telegram, lot of new things like channel and bot

  • Telegram FTW

  • You have a mistake. Facebook Messenger has video calling!
    But as a whole the comparison is good. The only thing missing in my opinion is how light or heavy the apps are (FBM is heavy as hell, WhatsApp - a bit better, haven't used Telegram).

  • Also you can send gif on telegram.
    You can have 1000 members in telegram group. If you reach this limit telegram automatically increases it.

  • Telegram has pretty good browser based service. Do the research before writing such article. Its awesome. Million times better than WhatsApp. No need to keep your phone connected to access it.

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