Review date: Sept. 8, 2021
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!
Can it snoop on me?
What can be used to sign up?
A third party can be used to sign up
What data does the company collect?
Name, email, birth date, age, phone number and, when necessary, billing information. Location (WPS location data) - if allowed in settings.
A copy of the phone numbers and names of all your contacts. If you sign up through third parties (like VK or Facebook) - your public profile, friend list, accounts you follow or who follow you, your email address, birthday, work history, education history, interests, current city, and video viewing
How does the company use this data?
How can you control your data?
What is the company’s known track record of protecting users’ data?
No known record of data breaches or leaks
Can this product be used offline?
User-friendly privacy information?
Links to privacy information
Does this product meet our Minimum Security Standards?
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.
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.
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.
Viber does manage security vulnerabilities. They also have cooperations with external parties that help find such vulnerabilities and verify that their patches fix the issues.
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?
What kind of decisions does the AI make about you or for you?
Is the company transparent about how the AI works?
Does the user have control over the AI features?
Messaging app Viber cuts all ties with FacebookCNet
Rakuten Viber launches new tools to fight spam on the platformAdaderana Biz
Viber adds end-to-end encryption and hidden chats as messaging app privacy wave growsTechCrunch
Viber privacy settings
Got a comment? Let us hear it.