Viber

Viber

Review date: Sept. 8, 2021

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Mozilla says

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People voted: Somewhat creepy

Voice calls, video calls, group chats, stickers, social channels, self-destructing chats, end-to-end encryption, lots of spam, and targeted ads. Viber provides all the greatest hits of the messaging app world. It’s like a mix of WhatsApp and Telegram with a dash of Snapchat thrown in for good measure. And it’s huge - with over a billion users around the world. During the pandemic, Viber expanded it’s group video chat features to allow for more users, which resulted in cool things like teachers in Hungary using it to help stay in touch with their students. Good vibes indeed.

What could happen if something goes wrong?

Viber seems to do a fairly good job at protecting their users' privacy and security. Especially when compared to other similar messaging apps like Telegram and Whatsapp. It's not perfect, but we do like they've been using end-to-end encryption by default since 2016 (except for group calls, those are only encrypted in transit). Some other good thing they do: Once a message is delivered, it is deleted from their servers so your messages aren’t sitting around where others could potentially access them and you can choose to hide yourself from any of the contacts in your contact list (handy when it comes to that ex of yours!). Some things they do we don’t love: When you join a group, your phone number will be visible to all group members, which could be a lot of people, so be careful. Also, Viber has had problems with bad people sending lots of spam and viruses. As always, it’s good to be careful reading or downloading things from people you don’t know. And it's been reported about 20% of Viber’s revenue comes from ads. They collect users’ IP-address location, gender, and age to target these ads, although users can opt out of gender and age targeting if they take the time to change their settings. Their ad partners may also combine the data collected about you when using Viber with their outside records to do even more targeting. So lock those settings down as much as you can! One thing we really loved about Viber is in 2020 they joined the #StopHateForProfit campaign (Mozilla did too!) and cut all business ties with Facebook. Gotta love a company that takes a stand against hate, misinformation, and unethical privacy practices!

mobile Privacy Security A.I.

Can it snoop on me? information

Camera

Device: N/A

App: Yes

Microphone

Device: N/A

App: Yes

Tracks location

Device: N/A

App: Yes

What can be used to sign up?

A third party can be used to sign up

What data does the company collect?

How does the company use this data?

Viber uses Cookies & Tracking Technologies by advertisers (including Google, Twitter, Adjust, Russian Yandex and VK, etc.). As such, they enable targeted ads on its own Viber app, but also allow numerous third parties combine information they collect from Viber with other information they have independently collected relating to your web browser’s activities across their network of websites. The information Viber collects may be combined with information from outside records (e.g. demographic information and additional contact information) that they "have received in accordance with the law." When you join Viber, the contacts in your address book that are already Viber members may be informed that you're now on Viber too.

How can you control your data?

Until the account is deactivated, all associated data may be retained for an undefined time. Upon deactivation of your account, Viber promises it will minimize the personal data they keep about you only to that data which they are required to keep to comply with laws, or other legal reasons. They may keep activity data on a non-identifiable basis to improve their services (no ways of de-identifying are provided). Your posts on public accounts and communities and Channels may remain available if you do not delete them.

What is the company’s known track record of protecting users’ data?

Average

No known record of date breaches or leaks

Can this product be used offline?

N/A

User-friendly privacy information?

No

Viber's privacy policy is rather complicated and overwhelmingly long. Some Q&A would make it simpler to comprehend.

Links to privacy information

Does this product meet our Minimum Security Standards? information

Yes

Encryption

Yes

Viber delivers end-to-end encryption by default for 1-to-1, group chats, and 1-to-1 calls. Group calls are only encrypted in transit.

Strong password

N/A

Viber does not require a password to log in, users are required upon registration to authenticate their phone number. Users have the possibility to add a security code to their desktop app. Users can also enable password-protected secret chats in Viber, with a self-destruction timer.

Security updates

Yes

In case of any security vulnerabilities an update to the Viber app will be made promptly and pushed as part of the regular application upgrade process.

Manages vulnerabilities

Yes

Viber does manage security vulnerabilities. They also have cooperations with external parties that help find such vulnerabilities and verify that our patches fix the issues.

Privacy policy

Yes

Does the product use AI? information

Yes

Viber uses several AI and machine learning systems in their backend systems for things like spam detection, community moderation, language translation and others. Viber claims that sharing the algorithm for spam detection, community moderation, language translation etc. publicly will actually defeat their purpose (for example spammers will know how to bypass their systems and attack users).

Is this AI untrustworthy?

Can’t Determine

What kind of decisions does the AI make about you or for you?

Is the company transparent about how the AI works?

No

Does the user have control over the AI features?

Can’t Determine


News

Messaging app Viber cuts all ties with Facebook
CNet
The company is crying foul over Facebook's mismanagement of user data, and calls the spread of hate speech on the platform "the last straw."
Rakuten Viber launches new tools to fight spam on the platform
Adaderana Biz
Rakuten Viber announces the launch of several tools to fight spam and ensure user privacy, as well as an option to search for other users by name.
Viber adds end-to-end encryption and hidden chats as messaging app privacy wave grows
TechCrunch
The company — founded in Israel and acquired by Japan’s Rakuten in 2014 — says the new services will be rolled out globally in the coming weeks, starting today in four countries where Viber centers most of its R&D: Brazil, Belarus, Israel and Thailand.
Viber privacy settings
In this guide we will cover the privacy settings that are available on Viber, namely what information you share with other users and third parties.

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