DatChat is trying to address privacy and censorship concerns with the launch of a new, private social media network. The DatChat platform is available for free on iOS and Android devices, and gives users an unprecedented level of control over messages sent through the service.
DatChat is fully encrypted, while the platform itself will prevent screenshots and prohibit message forwarding and sharing to make sure that messages cannot go beyond the intended recipient. Posts and comments will only be visible to people that the user has approved. Users can also set time or view limits that determine how long a message or a post will be available. The content will be permanently deleted once the countdown ends, and the time limit can be modified either before or after the post or message has gone live.
In practice, DatChat will essentially operate like a collection of micro social networks. For example, users can create distinct networks for friends, family, the office, or some other group, and only those with an invite will be able to view the content in that network. Users will still be able to search for and join networks that have been made public, but each user will have the ability to “nuke” their entire post and comment history from a network at any time.
They can do the same with private conversations. Deleting a conversation will permanently erase it from both the sender and the recipient’s devices. DatChat stressed that it cannot view any private messages sent over its service.
“DatChat believes that we all are entitled to the same privacy and freedom of speech online that we have talking to our friends in our own living rooms,” said DatChat CEO Darin Myman. “DatChat will never censor what you are sharing and commenting. Our technology insures that we do not have access to your messages, so we have no idea what you are talking about.”
People who sign up for the platform only need a username, and do not have to provide a real name, an email address, or a phone number. Users can leverage passwords or the biometric security options on their phone to protect their accounts.
DatChat is hoping that its privacy guarantee will appeal to people who are fed up with the data mining (and the privacy violations) that have become commonplace on other social media platforms. In that regard, Aerendir recently published a study that suggests that most people are not happy with the current privacy arrangement.