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Instant messaging

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Instant Messaging (IM) is a digital communication method that enables real-time transmission of text-based messages over internet[3] or computer[4] networks. Unlike email[8], IM facilitates immediate, interactive conversation, often enhanced with emojis, file transfers, voice-over IP, and video chat. IM systems can function independently or as part of a larger social media[2] platform. They have evolved significantly since early systems like Talkomatic and CompuServe CB Simulator, developing into graphical user interfaces with a wide range of features. Today’s popular services, including Signal, Telegram, WhatsApp[5], and Snapchat[6], offer private and group messaging, advanced security[7] measures such as end-to-end encryption[1], and integration with social networks. They play a vital role in both personal communication and business environments, facilitating effective real-time communication with conversation records for future reference.

Terms definitions
1. End-to-end encryption ( end-to-end encryption ) End-to-end encryption, often abbreviated as E2EE, is a vital security measure in the digital world. It is a method of secure communication that prevents third-parties from accessing data while it's transferred from one end system to another. In essence, E2EE works by converting the sender's message into code, which can only be decoded by the intended recipient. This guarantees that the information remains confidential as it travels across networks. Despite its benefits, E2EE faces challenges such as vulnerability to man-in-the-middle attacks, endpoint authentication requirements, and issues with regulatory compliance. Backdoors, which can bypass encryption, also pose significant security concerns. This encryption method is widely implemented in various communication platforms and file sharing services for enhanced data security. Regardless of the challenges, E2EE remains a crucial part of maintaining privacy in our increasingly digital world.
2. social media. Social media is a broad term encompassing a variety of digital tools and platforms that facilitate the sharing of information and the creation of virtual communities. Emerging from early systems like PLATO and ARPANET, it has evolved into modern platforms like Facebook and Twitter. These platforms offer unique features that differentiate them from traditional media, including the ability for users to generate content and engage in dialogic communication. They cater to over 100 million users globally and offer different forms of services, such as messaging apps and collaborative content creation platforms. The use of social media has far-reaching impacts on individuals, society, and businesses, influencing everything from marketing practices to political processes. However, it's also associated with ethical concerns, such as the spread of misinformation and potential addiction.
Instant messaging (Wikipedia)

Instant messaging (IM) technology is a type of online chat allowing immediate transmission of messages over the Internet or another computer network. Messages are typically transmitted between two or more parties, when each user inputs text and triggers a transmission to the recipient(s), who are all connected on a common network. It differs from email in that conversations over instant messaging happen in real-time (hence "instant"). Most modern IM applications (sometimes called "social messengers", "messaging apps", "chat apps" or "chat clients") use push technology and also add other features such as emojis (or graphical smileys), file transfer, chatbots, voice over IP, or video chat capabilities.

A classic example of instant messaging on a desktop computer: the left window of this software showing a list of contacts ("buddy list") and the right window an active IM conversation

Instant messaging systems tend to facilitate connections between specified known users (often using a contact list also known as a "buddy list" or "friend list"), and can be standalone applications or integrated into e.g. a wider social media platform, or a website where it can for instance be used for conversational commerce. IM can also consist of conversations in "chat rooms". Depending on the IM protocol, the technical architecture can be peer-to-peer (direct point-to-point transmission) or client–server (an IM service center retransmits messages from the sender to the communication device). It is usually distinguished from text messaging which is typically simpler and normally uses cellular phone networks.

Instant messaging applications can store messages with either local-based device storage (e.g. WhatsApp, Viber, Line, WeChat, Signal etc.) or cloud-based server storage (e.g. Telegram, Skype, Facebook Messenger, Google Meet/Chat, Discord, Slack etc.).

Instant messaging was pioneered in the early Internet era; the IRC protocol was the earliest to achieve wide adoption. Later in the 1990s, ICQ was among the first closed and commercialized instant messengers, and several rival services appeared afterwards as it became a popular use of the Internet. Beginning with its first introduction in 2005, BlackBerry Messenger, which initially had been available only on BlackBerry smartphones, soon became one of the most popular mobile instant messaging apps worldwide. BBM was for instance the most used mobile messaging app in the United Kingdom and Indonesia. Instant messaging remains very popular today; IM apps are the most widely used smartphone apps: in 2018 there were over 50 million Signal users, 980 million monthly active users or WeChat and 1.3 billion monthly users of WhatsApp Messenger.

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