Tox: Text, voice, and video chats without a central server

Peer Group

Article from Issue 248/2021

The Tox protocol uses file-sharing techniques for messaging and audio-video chats, which gives users a greater degree of privacy and freedom.

The popular messaging application WhatsApp has recently alienated many users with its new terms of service and privacy policy. It's a situation that once again illustrates that when you put yourself in the hands of a proprietary service, you put yourself at the mercy of the operator. If you are dissatisfied with a change, either you grudgingly continue using the service, or you move to a different application with similar features.

In the case of WhatsApp, there are quite a few alternatives, and many were suddenly overrun with WhatsApp users looking for another option. This article looks at the different categories of messaging services, and then delves into one particular option – using peer-to-peer messaging apps based on the Tox protocol.

Open Source Clients

Signal [1], Threema [2], and Telegram [3] are widely regarded as good alternatives to WhatsApp, partly on the grounds that they operate more freely and openly than the Facebook service. This typically means releasing the app source code under open source licenses and disclosing the underlying protocol so that other app developers can develop alternative clients (see Table 1).


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