Last week, we wrote about Signal after Elon Musk urged his 42 million Twitter followers to leave Facebook and use the secure messaging app Signal instead. It all started when WhatsApp, a Facebook-owned app, began issuing a privacy update notification to users making clear that it is sharing user data with Facebook. That decision led people to look elsewhere for a secure communications app, helped along by Elon Musk’s Jan. 7 tweet.
“We’re now moving back the date on which people will be asked to review and accept the terms. No one will have their account suspended or deleted on February 8. We’re also going to do a lot more to clear up the misinformation around how privacy and security works on WhatsApp. We’ll then go to people gradually to review the policy at their own pace before new business options are available on May 15.
WhatsApp added, “We’ve heard from so many people how much confusion there is around our recent update. There’s been a lot of misinformation causing concern and we want to help everyone understand our principles and the facts.”
WhatsApp updated terms related to interacting with businesses on the app. Part of that involved how businesses could use Facebook services to host their chats with users. Many WhatsApp users thought this meant a broadening of data sharing between the messaging app and its parent company.
Meanwhile, since WhatsApp made the announcement, Signal saw approximately 7.5 million installs globally through the Apple App Store and Google Play store between January 6 and January 10, according to Sensor Tower. That was 43 times the number from the previous week. It is the highest week or even monthly install number for Signal in the app’s history. Telegram is not far behind, the open-source secure messaging app saw 5.6 million downloads globally from Wednesday through Sunday, according to Apptopia.
Unlike Facebook which monitors your every move, Signal is an encrypted messaging app 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. It can also be used to make one-to-one and group voice and video calls, and the Android version can optionally function as an SMS app. BTW, Facebook’s WhatsApp is also end-to-end encrypted using Signal’s protocols.