The traditional SMS text message is on the path to becoming obsolete in the light of the explosion of popular, easy-to-use chat apps like WhatsApp, Telegram, Viber, Facebook Messenger, and others. They all offer free text messaging as well as a range of other options, such as voice and video calls and file sharing.
For instance, WhatsApp is free for Android and iOS users and has become wildly popular over recent years. It has a remarkably easy setup procedure, automatically syncs with the contacts in your phone, and has no ads. Similarly, Facebook Messenger builds on Facebook’s existing chat network and adds a variety of mobile messaging features.
Several countries in the Middle East, South America and Asia have blocked voice and video features in many chat apps, trying to limit freedom of expression or protect the revenues of traditional telecom companies. Video and voice calling allows people to connect over the internet rather than phone networks, avoiding the expense of traditional phone calls, especially international ones.
Apart from these countrywide bans, many academic institutions and workplaces opt to block chat apps for various reasons. These range from seeking to increase productivity to fighting cyber-bullying. However, this strict approach is not always the most suitable – some messaging options are actively used for constructive educational and professional pursuits as well. For instance, you might need to discuss a homework assignment with a friend over Facebook Messenger or quickly send files over WhatsApp while away from your office.
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