What would you say is the main issue preventing Kontalk's adoption?


Hi everyone,

I’ve been trying for a while now to switch people over to Kontalk, but unfortunately my success is not at the level I would wish for. I was wondering what the experiences of others are.

What would you say is the main issue that is preventing Kontalk’s adoption?

  • Awareness - Not many of my contacts care about privacy, encryption, decentralization, etc.
  • Popularity - Very few of my contacts, even those that care about privacy, use it
  • Anonymity - Kontalk requires a phone number to register an account
  • Technical - Not using popular standards for encryption
  • Features - Kontalk lacks options in comparison to other messengers
  • Development - Slow in shipping major releases with new characteristics

0 voters

  • Did you manage to get people to check out Kontalk?
  • What arguments did you use?
  • Did they stick around?
  • If people started using Kontalk and then stopped, did they give you a reason?

Personally I managed to have a few members of my family using it, even though they did not really switch from other messengers, just using it in parallel. Still it’s good to know that my everyday communications are on a platform I trust and care about. I also have some contacts from the FOSS communities am involved.

Unfortunately I never managed to have my friends switch to it, even though I know some are on Signal, so to some extent care about their privacy.

Introduce yourself or just say hi

The thing is that nobody who isn’t already aware will care at all about what you say about privacy etc… So don’t even bother trying to explain why exactly

The way I get people into it used to be describing about what’s bad about WhatApp etc. and why Kontalk is better. That didn’t work a single time.

Now I changed to “I don’t use [messenger] for privacy reasons but you can contact me by using Kontalk instead. If you wnat to know my reasons I’ll gladly explain it.” and it works!

However I must note that except for my father who for understandable reasons tries to use his smattphone a less as possible, nobody I know personally is into open source or at least knows what it is.

Also I’ve happened to try to convince a Signal user to use Kontalk but it redered ineffective, they just hear open source and encryption and Snowden so they think it’s good and you may explain as hard as you can There’s no good reason to “change a running system”.


It’s not Just Kontalk. Most people know only faceshit messenger and whatsucks and want to stuck with it.
Even getting them to Signal or Telegram is a PITA.


Obviously the potential audience for Kontalk is smaller compared to these giants. Yet it would be good to know to what extend the community believes it can grow and towards which direction, compared to other messenger applications.

For example, if 100 people are looking for privacy-respecting messenger alternatives, how many of them know about Kontalk? How many of them end up trying it? And how many of them stick around and recommend it to friends/contacts? That’s hard to calculate though.


Calculating this kind of stuff is exactly what these big messengers do ^^.

But seriously, I think that the main issue is that the knowledge is missing.

I mean, if one uses Google Play it’s not that much of a difference for the user and Once you use F-Droid it doesn’t take much time to find Kontalk if you search for a good messenger. That’s how I got here.


I only use Kontalk (and Threema without linked to my phone number, for my iOS contacts).
Nobody of my Android contacts knows my Threema ID.

So they have to use Kontalk to contact me
And it works :wink:
Of course they use it not as a stand alone messenger.

To make Kontalk to a big project we need attention of the press I suppose.
The big ones get publicity for free for every new emoticon even for bugs :joy:

Small projects miss this publicity.


BTW. Have you ever checked is there a Kontalk Wikipedia page for your language?

If not, why not write one?

Maybe you can use the german page as draft:


Scroll down for the summary.

I voted Awareness and Technical, but the latter doesn’t apply to encryption, IMO. TBH I haven’t used the latest versions of Kontalk because I lost my phone in early August and haven’t installed it on my replacement Fairphone. What I do remember are the issues with verifying contacts every now and then. It didn’t seem flawless, and my opinion about verify-before-you-chat has also changed in the last few months.

To understand my reasons, I’ll briefly explain my current usage pattern: I mainly use Whatsapp for communicating with young people of my parish. We have a WA group and I post news about meetups and masses. Whatsapp is low-barrier because it is already there on young people’s phones.

In order to comply with WA’s ToS I’m using Xprivacy Pro to whitelist only the contacts that are fine with having their phone numbers uploaded to WA’s servers. The other contacts are not visible to WA.

Regarding verify-before-you-chat: Not good for group messages and mass subscriptions to a group (The group I’m talking about has 35 members and not everyone even has the other’s phone numbers. They gave their phone numbers to me and I added them to the group in one go.) While I don’t like WA’s approach for making everyone believe that chats are top-secure, it’s wrong to assume that everyone is a spy and that everyone is spying on everyone.

I’d rather like to see a soft-awareness-rising environment for Kontalk: People can chat with encryption at once, but they have a little warning :bulb: (“Find out more!”) displayed next to their avatar, when they haven’t been verified. In general a warning always seems a little bit like a punishment (“I’m wrong for not verifying my contacts.”) whereas I think that young people don’t want to be told that they are wrong. They do want to learn, however.

IMO veryifing encryption should be an option for situations where people really are in need of a secure connection. For everyday chats it’s ok, IMO, when contacts are not verified.

The second point: There is no iPhone client and Austrians love their iPhones. So that would leave out about half of the teens, maybe more, because young people love their iPhones even more.

My summary:

  • Don’t make it look like a punishment if people don’t want to verify a contact.
  • Make Kontalk’s ToS a USP. (Kontalk’s non-corporation structure too, for that matter! :wink: )
  • Have an iPhone client.


Hi @Stefan
There are a few good arguments. But I have to say:
I use Kontalk because it’s not a copy of WhatsApp. Especially the privacy.
For me it’s a horrible feeling if someone would put (and so published) my phone number in a group of people I don’t know.

I’m sure, you are carefully but I’m sure to, other people spam every known number in masses of Group chats. I know that because my son uses WhatsApp.

FOR ME it sounds like a privacy disaster.
Maybe other people have no problem with publish there phone number. But this people will never leave there walled garden.

All in all I think:
There is no reasen to leave WhatsApp when other messengers to it the same way.
I love Kontalk because it’s not like WhatsApp. Otherwise I would leave Kontalk and switch to WhatsApp because the stronger userbase :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

Last but not least I have just opened a issue: https://github.com/kontalk/androidclient/issues/1092
Maybe this could fix “Don’t make it look like a punishment if people don’t want to verify a contact.”

And about the iOS Client. If you know, there is still no iOS developer…


Can happen with every messenger where you have to sign in with your phone number.
WhatSucks, Signal, Kontalk you have to give your phone number to someone otherwise they can’t contact you.
With Threema, Wire, Wickr, Conversations.im, Telegram, SwissSafe, Riot.im and probably a lot more you don’t have to give your phone number


Absolutely correct. I think Kontalk is still a compromise between privacy and comfort.
In WhatsApp you can add every number you know as member in a group. An in this moment every group member know this number.
In Kontalk, YOU (not the group owner) have first give your number to the other people. That’s a small but IMO a important difference.


Maybe it would be better to narrow down the question. I guess someone interested in Kontalk is already looking for a FOSS solution and to some extent are concerned about their privacy. My understanding is that people find Kontalk after searching for messengers on their own. But what can we do to go to them?

In other words, from the pool of FOSS messengers, how can Kontalk increase its share of the pie?
What are we not doing that we can do? What are we doing that can improve? Should we concentrate more on activism, publicity or on development? Ideally, it should be a bit of everything, but as you know, resources are limited.


Don’t worry about those people, it’s the same with Linux, they’re in.

I think publicity.
Activism can be explained as to fanatic, that won’t work.
Development, I think (but I’m not a developer) is going well. Besides that, most people don’t care about this. They want a messenger that “just” works, like WhatsApp


Requires a phone number to register is not a good thing.

I like this project and I think I have some ideas about this communication tool. First I like this app because is free and has gpl 3 licence. Than I like because I see some implementations like those from WeChat . I find this application on F- Droid.

Some ideeas: ( Based on Wechat)

  • implementation of a light social network in this chat app (GNU Social or Friendica - maybe like a plugin)
  • a reward sistem in points based on this social network sistem
  • a pay , transfer of these points to other users ( the goal is a pay system like in WeChat in a long run) ,
  • an api system to implement for use this reward points in forums, blogs …
  • an one installation click for users who want to be owner of this application ( with server + admin + other things )
  • “WeChat Mini Programs are a brand new way of connecting users and services. They can be obtained and distributed quickly and conveniently within WeChat and offer an excellent user experience.”

The WhatsApp is from the past , WeChat (Wēixìn ) is from the future.


Yes and no. yes, it’s easy for people to setup
No, it’s bad for privacy

Kontalk is a messenger, let’s keep it that way. If you want a social network install Movim or Dandelion* (Diaspora*) instead.

Since WhatsApp is owned by Facebook and changed their privacy policy you can’t trust them. WeChat is Chinese, a country that orders some of their inhabitants to install software on their phones to monitor them, no thanks


Imo verifying every single contact in a group is a horrible thing to do.

I have a general idea of how the group chat works so I think it would be great to have an option to not share your phone number. Like generating an independend ID by giving an option to hide the number individually/globally.

This is a feature I always wanted - to give someone my contact data but not including my personal phone number. This is why I ended up using Matrix more meanwhile, even though Riot uses WebView. This and creation of public groups, though I’m not sure this would fit Kontalk’s goals or at least work out the way it does in Matrix.

I like the design of Silence (based on an older version of Signal, SMS/MMS only yet) that not encrypting messages. It keeps it pretty neutral and says in thewriting line “Send unencrypted message”. Though I’d like it way more if it didn’t say anything related to encryption if it seems to be secure.

Also I nearly never exchange my keys f2f. The reason is that I wouldn’t use a messenger if it would be that easy to do so.


I’m very concerned about privacy so that’s why I use Kontalk. I’ve managed to get five friends to use Kontalk as our major messenger. Four other friends were willing to switch to Kontalk but couldn’t because they have iPhones. That, is a major issue.