Turkish messaging app gains attention in Indonesia

By Pizaro Gozali Idrus

JAKARTA, Indonesia (AA) – People from all walks of life in Indonesia have started to switch to Turkish communication and messaging app, BiP, amid concerns about privacy protection on WhatsApp.

Speaking to Anadolu Agency on Monday, Heriyanto, who goes by only one name, a teacher in Central Java province, said he started using the app as it has high-quality video call service which is better than Whatsapp.

He said BiP allows group chats for up to 1,000 people and subscription of various channels.

"This is suitable for those who run a business," Heriyanto told Anadolu Agency via the app.

He said he was proud to use BiP because it was made by Turkey, a Muslim country.

"I recommended my friends to switch to BiP," he added.

Surabaya-based journalist Muhammad Nashir told Anadolu Agency that the app is interesting as it has many features such as dark mode and invites users to chat with each other by providing random chat notifications to new users.

Also applauding Turkey’s initiative, Ahmad Faishal Fahmi, an anesthesiology specialist in Jambi province, said that BiP has better video quality and fonts that are easier to read than Whatsapp.

However, he noted that it is still hard for some operator numbers to send SMS verification to register an account.

"There is no format text features like bold, italic, and others. There is also no live YouTube broadcast feature yet," Fahmi told Anadolu Agency

The doctor said that if BiP can accelerate its technology quickly, it is not impossible for the app to accommodate a digital payment system that is accepted around the world or at least in Muslim countries.

Fahmi, who is the admin of a cross-professional Muslim community group, also sees that many Indonesians use BiP as part of protest against Facebook which he said limits Muslim’s freedom of speech with its policy that ignores privacy rights.

"Apart from that, this [move] is also motivated by the strengthened sentiment toward products of Muslim countries and appreciation for Turkey's progress," he added.

– Safe and comfortable

Ahmad Ufuwan, an IT practitioner in Jakarta, said the reason many Indonesians switch to BiP is that the app guarantees more security than its American competitor and is more comfortable to use.

"I personally feel comfortable using BiP and the app commits to data security," Ufuwan told Anadolu Agency.

He said that the app is easy to use by ordinary people, so everyone can easily adapt to its features.

"BiP deserves to be a substitute application for WhatsApp in Indonesia, where the majority of the population has historical linkages with Turkey," said Ufuwan.

Data showed Saturday that BiP has been downloaded by more than 50 million users worldwide, according to Google's app store.

After popular messaging app WhatsApp forced many users to agree to new privacy rules, a large number of people started to seek alternatives for their smartphones.

WhatsApp recently introduced controversial changes to its privacy policy that allows it to share more data with parent company Facebook.

*Writing by Rhany Chairunissa Rufinaldo with Anadolu Agency's Indonesian-language service in Jakarta