WhatsApp for Online Dating: How Safe?

Here’s how safe WhatsApp is for online dating:

WhatsApp is relatively safe and secure for use in online dating.

Messages are encrypted so that only end users can read them, and the app doesn’t make you particularly vulnerable to malicious behavior.

It’s safer than many alternatives. 

So if you want to learn all about how safe it is exactly to use WhatsApp for dating online, then this article is for you, then this article is for you.

Keep reading!

WhatsApp for Online Dating: How Safe? (All the Info)

What Is WhatsApp?

Cheerful young woman sitting on a windowsill at home and texting on her phone

If you’re not too familiar with it, WhatsApp is one of the most popular messaging and communication apps in the world.

It’s designed to be universal, so no matter what type of device or operating system you use, you can communicate seamlessly with anyone else on the app. 

Because of this, WhatsApp is popular for all kinds of things, including getting to know people you might find romantically interesting. 

It might be a bit of a stretch to call WhatsApp a dating app, but you can definitely use it to have conversations and get to know someone better.

If that’s part of your dating process, then WhatsApp might prove very useful to you. 

What Are the Safety Concerns With Online Dating via WhatsApp? (5 Risks)

Woman upset after reading bad message on phone at home. Frustrated sad female crying, suffering, not in mood, thinking, depressed, stressed sitting on comfortable sofa near window holding smartphone

Even if WhatsApp is convenient and useful for online dating, that doesn’t really address the most important concern. 

Is it safe?

When it comes to digital safety, there are plenty of worries to consider.

Are you being scammed?

Can anyone steal important information?

Will this lead to stalking or other problems?

There are also concerns that have more to do with dating.

Are you in physical danger when you use this method of dating?

Will you have to endure miserable dates?

Are you going to get your heart broken?

Each is a serious and legitimate concern.

So, in order to really gauge WhatsApp as an online dating tool, we should fully cover these safety concerns. 

#1 Fraud and Scams

Female face not shown and with one hand holding her smart phone while another is holding a credit card

What really puts you at risk of fraud or scams on the internet? 

Ultimately, there are two things: hacks and tricks. 

Let’s talk about hacks first. 

In a digital world, people can use computers, software, and other tools to outright steal digital information.

Without ever contacting you or knowing who you are, they can hack account information, steal money, and wreak havoc on your life. 

Does WhatsApp increase your risk in this area? No.

We’ll get into details later, but WhatsApp is not putting you at any increased risk of being hacked. 

As for tricks, that’s another thing altogether. 

Rather than hacking accounts, malicious parties can communicate with you to try to trick you into giving up valuable information.

In more severe cases, they might convince you to give them money outright. 

The thing about people tricking or scamming you is that it relies on some kind of communication.

They have to send you an email or message to try to convince you of lies. 

As for WhatsApp, it does facilitate communication, so it actually can be an avenue for scams.

That said, it’s not riskier than any other app in this regard. 

#2 Stalking

Unhappy young woman using smartphone portrait. Sad girl reading bad news or texting with mobile phone

This concept actually threads the needle between saying and online concerns.

You don’t want someone you date online to start physically stalking it harassing you.

At the same time, virtual stalking and harassment are both real things. 

Is WhatsApp safe in these departments?

That really depends on you.

WhatsApp is never going to give other people important information about you.

It won’t give away your address or location.

It doesn’t reveal your social media accounts or other online resources. 

Because of that, WhatsApp is not specifically putting you in danger. 

That said, people can use WhatsApp to find out where you live and a whole lot more.

It just depends on what you tell them. 

This is online dating, so it’s reasonable to think that you want the conversations to eventually lead to an in-person moment.

Having that moment requires you to share your physical location with the other person. 

In other words, if online dating goes well, stalking risks grow. 

Once again, WhatsApp isn’t offering unique safety problems.

It’s just the nature of the beast.

If you date online, you will eventually run into risks. 

#3 Physical Danger

Successful woman using smartphone outdoors while standing near skyscraper at night time

When you date, you come into contact with another human—presumably another human who you don’t know very well. 

If that person turns out to be dangerous, they could bring physical harm to you.

It’s a simple premise, and unfortunately, it’s all too real. 

Does WhatsApp increase any risks related to your physical well-being? No. 

It’s an app for online communication.

The whole point of WhatsApp is that you can use it to talk when you aren’t anywhere near the other person. 

If anything, WhatsApp lowers the rush of physical danger by providing remote communication. 

#4 Bad Dates

Woman lying on the bed, phone in hand, not listening or messaging anymore

It might sound a little silly coming after physical danger, but bad dates are a thing. 

They can range from awkward to frustrating to downright week-ruining.

And, there’s a lot that can go wrong with a date. 

It’s perfectly reasonable to want to avoid bad dates. 

Where does WhatsApp fit in? 

If anything, WhatsApp makes it easier to deal with bad dates.

If you’re having an online date, it’s pretty easy to kill the conversation or walk away from your device.

Compare that to trying to end a date where the other person drove, and you can really see the app’s value here 

WhatsApp might not prevent bad dates, but it can definitely soften them. 

#5 Heartbreak 

Upset brunette putting hand on head. Blonde woman leaning and trying to comfort her friend.

Unironically, this is one of the scariest aspects of dating.

No one wants their heart broken, and yet, it’s something that happens to people every single day. 

Unfortunately, WhatsApp can’t protect you on this front.

If you open yourself up to people, heartbreak is a risk.

More than that, WhatsApp is serving to bring you more opportunities for heartbreak. 

The app isn’t inherently putting you at risk, but it’s not protecting you either.

This is just something that comes with the territory when you date—online or offline. 

What Makes WhatsApp Safe for Online Dating? (4 Things)

Happy woman text messaging on cell phone in the city

We’ve covered the major risks associated with dating.

We’ve talked about how WhatsApp can make those things better or worse.

Overall, I’m comfortable saying that WhatsApp is plenty safe in all of those regards. 

Still, there’s another angle here.

WhatsApp is a messaging app as such, is it one of the safe ones?

I’ll take you through some top concerns in this field and talk about how WhatsApp fairs. 

#1 Privacy

Background image of computer screen with green code lines at data security office

You’re using the app for dating.

There’s every possibility that you might have personal or even intimate conversations over WhatsApp.

You don’t exactly want strangers prying into your personal business. 

Does WhatsApp share your information?

Does it protect your privacy?

As a matter of fact, WhatsApp is pretty good on this point.

While the app has been known to sell user statistics, it does not share your conversations at all.

In fact, WhatsApp is designed in a way that it can’t share your conversations, even if it wanted to. 

This is because the app uses something called end-to-end encryption

This is a bit of a technical idea, but I’ll walk you through the basics. 

Whenever you send data through the internet, it passes through a ton of devices before it gets to the intended destination.

Each device along the way has to be able to read that data. 

In other words, if you send a mushy, embarrassing love poem to someone via WhatsApp, every device in the process reads your poem.

On top of that, those devices are capable of copying your poem, and someone running such a device could read it and even share it across the internet. 

Yet, you haven’t really heard stories of this happening. Why?

It’s because of encryption.

It’s a standard practice in internet communication to encrypt data before sending it through all of those devices.

The encryption prevents other deuces from reading your data, and only you and the other user can read your latest masterpiece. 

#2 Encryption

Colleagues working on the development of programming and encryption technology website design programmers on desk in office

That sounds nice, but how can devices pass your information along the chain of devices that makes up the internet if they can’t read the data?

Encryption is a clever solution. 

Here’s the gist of how it works.

You write your poem and then send it.

Your device then changed the poem into a secret code.

That code has a special key that will allow another computer to figure out what the poem really says. 

The coded data is then sent across the internet and arrives at the intended destination.

Your computer also shares the special code with the computer at the other end of the conversation, so only the two of you can read it.

Encryption prevented putting eyes the whole way. 

Of course, this leads to another question.

How do the computers share the code either other devices seeing it?

This is done through something called a handshake.

Even though a chain of devices is involved in communication, each little bit of data is capable of taking a different route along the internet to reach its destination.

In other words, none of the middleman devices actually see all of the data that gets exchanged. 

This is explored with something called a certificate.

Basically, a digital key is shared between your device and the other user.

Both computers verify that the key matches, and this forms the handshake.

With this price, the coding algorithm for encryption is established. 

Even though devices in the middle can see pieces of the certificate, they can’t see the whole thing, and it’s too complicated to figure out with just partial information.

Ultimately, this means that only the two devices that establish the handshake can read the encrypted data. 

For what it’s worth, this is how your credit card information is protected when you make online purchases, and it’s how WhatsApp protects your conversations. 

#3 End-to-End Encryption

Male coder programming server encryption on firewall software, using security network to code system data for development. Working with text information to script program

We’ve covered Encryption in general, but there’s one more piece missing from the puzzle. 

Ultimately, any two devices can establish a handshake and encrypt data.

So for something like WhatsApp, the easiest option would be to have the servers manage encryption.

After all, WhatsApp servers are consistent middlemen when you talk to someone using the app.

The WhatsApp servers really manage everything. 

So, the servers could run the encryption and share the key with your device and the other device.

It would definitely work, and this is a common practice.

If you buy something on Amazon, there are often three parties involved.

There is you, the individual store you buy from, and Amazon. 

The Amazon servers quarterback the encryption that protects your information and ensure that everything works. 

WhatsApp is different.

It uses end-to-end encryption which means that the WhatsApp servers actually don’t get the encryption key.

Even though the servers are involved in communication, they don’t establish a handshake, so they don’t know the secret code. 

The WhatsApp servers are completely incapable of deciphering what you say, and this has serious ramifications. 

It means that WhatsApp couldn’t sell or share your conversations even if it wanted to.

It means that if a federal government requests conversation data from WhatsApp, the app can’t help very much.

It can provide encrypted data, and that’s not entirely useful (although encryption can be cracked with enough effort). 

Generally speaking, end-to-end encryption is the best security you can get for a private conversation, and WhatsApp does it as a standard. 

#4 Data Safety

Photo of smart intelligent coder dressed hat glasses writing application software modern gadget indoors workplace workstation loft

We just talked a lot about encryption.

It turns out that this is valuable for more than just privacy.

Encryption also protects your data. 

Have you ever heard of a data breach?

That’s where hackers get access to servers for major companies.

With that access, they steal usernames, passwords, and even financial information.

It’s bad news all around. 

Well, end-to-end encryption prevents WhatsApp servers from knowing what you say on the app.

It means that in the event of a data breach, your personal conversations still aren’t at risk.

This is very high-level data security. 

Now, it is worth noting that WhatsApp servers do know a little bit about you.

Your username and password are stored on the servers, and any other information you give to the app is likewise stored. 

This information would be vulnerable to a data breach.

It’s especially your conversations with other users that have the best levels of data security. 

How Does WhatsApp Compare to Other Communication Apps for Online Dating? (2 Apps)

Young cute female using smartphone on the street

That gives you a pretty good idea of what WhatsApp is like in a vacuum, but it might also help to think about other communication platforms and how they compare. 

In reality, there are a lot of different apps we could consider, and it’s just too much to cram into a single article.

To keep things simple, I’m going to focus on two specific apps:

  • Telegram
  • Kik

I’m specifically looking at these apps because of how they differ from WhatsApp and how that might impact safety and your dating experience.

#1 Telegram

Young woman using a smart phone in a modern office

Let’s start with Telegram.

In function, Telegram is extremely similar to WhatsApp.

You can chat with people, call them, video chat, and keep in touch in all of the modern, convenient digital ways that people do these days.

What really separates Telegram from WhatsApp is privacy.

I could write a whole thesis on the privacy differences between the two platforms, but a few key points really stand out.

First, Telegram works a lot harder to protect your privacy.

If you use Telegram to get to know someone in a dating sense, you can do so without them knowing anything about your contact information.

You can use a private account with a unique username that has nothing to do with your real name, phone number, address, etc.

That’s not quite the same for WhatsApp.

WhatsApp connects people via phone numbers, so in order to set up communication, your phone number will be available to the other person.

If you’re worried about stalking or people getting a little out of control, that’s a serious concern.

On the other hand, when you use WhatsApp, you get to see the other person’s phone number.

You can actually use that information to do a little bit of background research on them—at the very least you can make sure that their area code matches where they say they are—and you can use that as a bit of offensive defense.

There’s a trade-off here, and as long as you know about the difference, you can plan accordingly.

The other big difference with Telegram is how it protects your privacy from third parties.

I talked about end-to-end encryption with WhatsApp.

Telegram uses the same technology, but they push it to a whole other level.

Any information that you store with Telegram is encrypted, split up, and stored on servers in different countries.

Even more extreme, those servers are deliberately placed in countries that don’t exactly get along with each other.

The reason for this is that it protects your data even from prying governments.

Let’s say your government wanted to get all of your Telegram data because they are accusing you of criminal activity.

Even with a court order, Telegram wouldn’t be able to give the government what they want unless all of the governments housing the various servers worked together to retrieve the data.

That’s why the data is split up the way it is, and it’s extremely effective.

To date, Telegram has never given any data to any government.

What does that have to do with dating?

Well, it really multiplies this two-edged sword that is privacy and dating.

On the one hand, anything you say is definitely safe from prying eyes.

On the other hand, Telegram is the ideal communication platform for people who have something to hide.

It doesn’t mean that everyone on Telegram is a secret terrorist or anything, but if someone insists on using Telegram and only Telegram, that’s a mild, somewhat red-colored flag.

#2 Kik

Happy young woman relaxing at home she is sitting on the armchair and chatting with her touch screen smartphone

We can also compare Kik.

Once again, this is a communication platform that functions similarly to the other two.

You can do the usual stuff, and if you’re familiar with any one of the three apps, you’ll have an easy time navigating any of them.

As for differences, Kik is like Telegram in that it is not tied to your phone number.

You can communicate without providing that piece of personal information, and that remains the same two-edged sword.

It’s easier for you to stay private, but it’s also easier for the person on the other end of the conversation to hide things.

There are two ways that the Kik experience is noticeably different from the other two apps.

First, it has some social-media-like elements that make it very easy to connect with strangers on the app.

That might be fun for meeting people.

It also makes the app more appealing to a certain type of person who isn’t necessarily looking to be serious.

Everything is a trade-off, and when it’s easier to meet new people, it’s often harder to settle down.

That could be a good or bad thing, depending on what you’re after.

The second thing to know about Kik is that it is very popular with teenagers.

That’s not an inherently good or bad thing, but if you are using social media elements to meet people, keep in mind that plenty of them could be minors.

Since Kik makes it easy to hide who you are, you could end up in a conversation with a minor without realizing it.

A little caution goes a long way.

So, Which Communication App Is Safest for Online Dating?

Partial shot of a smiling woman using her smartphone

Now that we’ve compared these different apps, is one safer than the others? 

Not really.

You can see that every difference is more of a trade-off than a net gain or loss.

With that in mind, WhatsApp is about as safe as any other app, depending on what matters most to you.

If you prefer anonymity, the other apps are a better choice.

Otherwise, WhatsApp is fine for trying to get to know someone.


  • Theresa McDonough

    Tech entrepreneur and founder of Tech Medic, who has become a prominent advocate for the Right to Repair movement. She has testified before the US Federal Trade Commission and been featured on CBS Sunday Morning, helping influence change within the tech industry.

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