Understandably, many people worry about their privacy and online safety when it comes to using instant messaging applications such as Kik Messenger. They want to be in control of their own privacy while, at the same time, being able to be contacted online by their contacts. In this article we will discuss a feature of the Kik Messenger app that allows just that. It is called Address Book Matching and we will be discussing how safe it is.
In essence, Address Book Matching allows you to search and add your existing contacts while allowing your contacts to do the same to you.
What Is Kik Address Book Matching?
“I’m equally guilty of using technology – I Twitter, I text people, I chat. But I think there’s something strangely insidious about it that it makes us think we’re closer when in fact we’re not seeing each other, we’re not connecting.”- Jason Reitman
The best way to explain this handy feature is to go back to your registration process on Kik Messenger.
When you first registered on the Kik Messenger app, you were no doubt asked to provide an email address. The main reason for this is twofold: so that your identity could be verified and so that you can only managed the account yourself without anybody else interfering. For example, if you were to ever decide that you did not want to use the Kik Messenger app again, you could only deactivate your personal Kik account if you had access to the email address you used when you registered originally. This is clearly designed to protect you because it stops other people from potentially deactivating your account without your permission, prior knowledge or consent. Only you would be able to do this.
Now, there is actually another reason why Kik asks its members to provide a valid email address. And this has to do (Yes, you have probably guessed it) with address book matching. Your email might be used to sync your smart phone contacts.
This part is what makes some users nervous because if the Kik Messenger app they figure that some of their personal details may be made public. Luckily, this is not the case at all. Kik Messenger uses its users’ email addresses in order to allow them to sync their contacts for their convenience and only if they choose so.
So, whether you decide to use address book matching or not, your personal details will always be safe and protected.
Before we move on to how you can enable or disable this feature and what either of those options would effectively mean, let’s look at how other similar instant messaging apps deal with this situation.
Firstly, let’s make it clear that all main instant messaging apps take the security and privacy of their users extremely seriously. We are not really talking about that here. Rather, what we are talking about is how private those chat applications are.
Some of the most popular applications require you to share some of your personal information with others in order to chat with them. For example, WhatsApp is based on your smart phone number. So, if you ever what to chat to someone on WhatsApp you will have to give him or her your full smart phone number, or they will have to your theirs. Either way, everyone who chats to you on WhatsApp, either individually or as part of a group chat, will know your full phone number. This means, that they may also be able to find out more information about you on line, as they will have both your full phone number and your full name.
Similarly, if you decide to use the Facebook Messenger then you will also be sharing your full name but not just that. In order to use Facebook Messenger, even as a stand-alone app on your smart phone or other mobile device, you will need to have a Facebook account. As you know a Facebook account requires you to publicize a fair bit of information about yourself. This, of course, depends on your security settings but at the very list your Facebook friends will see your full name and very often a lot more information about you. In order to chat to people of the Facebook Messenger app typically you will need to be “friends” with them on Facebook.
Contrary to WhatsApp or the Facebook Messenger app, the Kik Messenger app does not require you to use your real name. In that sense, it works more like other popular social media sites. If you are used to Twitter, Tumblr, Snapchat, or Instagram, then you would already know that Kik Messenger works similarly in that users have a unique user name that they themselves choose. This means that if you have chosen a user name that bears no relationship with your real name or that does not offer any clues as to your real identity (and you always should). The advantage of this is that you can chat from people from around the world safely without needing to reveal your real identity.
How Does Address Book Matching Work?
Okay, so now that you know what it all entails, you are probably wondering how the address matching feature works and what you will need to do in order to turn it or on. This feature is something that you control at all time, as you are free to turn it on or off any time and as often as you would need to.
The first thing you will need to ensure in order to use this or any other Kik Messenger feature is that you have the latest version of the Kik Messenger installed in your smart phone or mobile device. If you are not entirely sure it will not hurt to head over to the relevant app store and download the Kik Messenger app. If you are positive that you have the latest version you will then not need to do this, of course.
All that is left to do is to actually turn the address book matching feature on. In order to do that, just follow these steps:
- Grab your smart phone or mobile device.
- Head over to the Kik Messenger app and open it.
- Go into your settings.
- Find the Address Book Matching icon on the privacy menu.
- Turn it on.
Obviously, the process for turning this feature off is exactly the same except for the last step where you would turn it off instead of on.
If the matching feature is on, the Kik Messenger app will automatically match your smart phone’s address book and the app’s address book. What this effectively means is that if, among your smart phone contacts, you have people who like use also use the Kik Messenger app and have this feature on, they will be automatically added to your list and you will be added to theirs, of course.
An important thing to highlight is that even when you have this synching feature turned on, other users will still NOT see your email address, your telephone number or any other personal information about you. This also means that if your contacts are added to your Kik chat lists, you may still not be able to guess who among your contacts has been added.
What happens with your contacts who are not on the Kik Messenger app? It can be frustrating that even after you have turned the feature on you only find out that some of your phone contacts or friends are not on Kik so you cannot chat to them on this awesome app. Of course, you could always approach them personally and ask them to join Kik Messenger but there is a much easier and more convenient way to do this. When you go to turn the address book feature you would notice that there is also an option called “tell friends about Kik”. Go back to settings and click on that option and then decide how you would like Kik Messenger to invite your selected friend or friends to join the Kik Messenger app. You can choose for them to be contacted them via SMS message, their social media network, or email, as long as you have that information on your smart phone. The process if you have a Windows Phone, the option is not called “tell friends about Kik” but “invite a friend”, but other than that it works in exactly the same way.
So, after all the information we have given you on this article, you have probably concluded that using the Kik Address Book Matching is absolutely safe. Even for those who wish to keep their personal identity secret and safe, there are no risks involved in using this matching feature. The great thing is that this is always optional and you can turn it off or on whenever you feel like it. As default the feature is turned off so you do not need to worry about it unless you have previously turned it on. The Kik Messenger app will never make public any personal information about their members and, as we have shown in this article, it is by far the instant messaging app that makes it easier for their users to keep their identity privacy.
Do you have any thoughts on the Kik Address Matching? If so, be sure to share your thoughts by leaving a comment.