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As a user program, “Element” sets the standards at the moment. Element is a brand of “New Vector” (“Element is trading name of New Vector.” (external)) and since 15.07.2020 the successor of “RiotX” or originally “Riot”.

Element-Desktop runs in a “web environment” (Electron) and is not a classic standalone program. This has the advantage that an app as a browser works virtually everywhere abe also the disadvantage that the application becomes very large and offers more points of attack. However, the main argument for Element is the platform independence, because both the app for Android, iOS - but also the Windows desktop all look the same to the user.

Project page: https://element.io (external)

Currently there are no german terms and conditions!

There are also other messengers for Matrix, but they are often still in a very early development state (alpha/beta):
https://matrix.org/docs/projects/try-matrix-now.html (external; English)

Short Guide

https://kmj.at/element-matrix-messenger-kurzanleitung-fuer-benutzer-03-2021/ (external)

New contacts

Other matrix users can be added via

  • ”+”
  • “Start conversation”
  • “Invite with ID”
  • ”@user:example.com”

After that, the Matrix ID should also be stored in the address book (contacts), so that the Matrix contact list is not only dependent on the existence of the respective own chat account and the contact list can be quickly restored in case of a change of the Matrix provider.

Identity server.

Identity servers are not necessary for federated operation. This means that you can reach other users outside your own server, even if you exclude the identity servers. This can be set in the settings.

When using identity servers, users can add themselves not only by matrix ID, but also by mail addresses or phone numbers. This increases convenience when making contact. On the other hand, it means that additional data is passed on and that one has more effort in case of a possible later change (e.g. a change of the mobile phone number).

In general, it is recommended to use the address of the system for which it was originally intended:

*Letter mail: Mail address/mailbox. * Telephony/SMS: phone number * E-mail: email address * Chat: chat address

Anonymized analysis data

The collection of “anonymized analysis data” and the transmission of error messages is completely deactivated since the mandatory implementation of the European regulation “General Data Protection Regulation” (GDPR) - respectively in Germany the “Datenschutz Grundverordnung (DSGVO)”_.

You can activate/deactivate tracking via the respective clients. Under the Android app, the function can be found under Settings -> Anonymized analysis data. Both the collection of this data and the sending of bug reports can be activated there (opt-in).

These are Google Firebase Analytics, which is used for error reporting, and Matomo (Piwik), which collects analytics data.
Source: https://reports.exodus-privacy.eu.org/reports/14343/

Message inbox/push messages.

Element in the Play Store version gets a push message via “Google Cloud Messaging” for every incoming message. This causes Element to pick up the actual message from the server.


NewVector openly points out at element.io that they store and evaluate metadata for profiling the users:

”… we might profile metadata…“](https://element.io/privacy) (external; English ‘privacy policy’).

Riot as well as miniVector already establish a connection before login and before changing the identity server -> why? where to? what data? -> no idea.

External articles

A quick guide can be found here:
https://kmj.at/2018-03-12-riot-im-messenger-kurzanleitung-fuer-benutze-updated (external)

English introduction: https://www.snoyman.com/blog/2018/05/guide-to-matrix-riot (external)