Opinions, Tech

WhatsApp’s new privacy policies spurred the rise of Signal

words by: Sahar Khraibani
Jan 24, 2021

Spurred by WhatsApp’s recent change in their privacy policy, which included a notification requiring all its users to agree to sharing personal data and information with its parent company, Facebook, Signal witnessed a 4200% increase in downloads in the past month.

 

Signal is a cross-platform centralized encrypted messaging service developed by the Signal Foundation and Signal Messenger. It uses the Internet to send one-to-one and group messages, which can include files, voice notes, images and videos. The messaging app is known for its encrypted messaging feature, that allows all messages to go untraced. Signal was downloaded roughly 7.5 million times in the U.S. and globally, with India accounting for 30% of all installs. The U.S. saw the second largest wave of installs with more than a million downloads. This boom in downloads was triggered by WhatsApp’s change in its privacy policy, which will be enacted on February 8. In the days following this news, Signal appeared to be at the forefront as the main competitor offering the encryption that WhatsApp was once known for.

 

Although WhatsApp clarified that the U.K. and the E.U. will be exempt from the changes in the policy, the mistrust in the app continued on. The company released a statement followed by an adjustment to the FAQ’s section that clarified: “The policy update does not affect the privacy of your messages with friends or family in any way. Instead, this update includes changes related to messaging a business on WhatsApp, which is optional, and provides further transparency about how we collect and use data.”

 

This is sure to cause turbulence in the app’s rate of consumption along with its parent company’s audience reception.

 

Photo via Thomas Trutschel/Getty Images