According to market intelligence company Sensor Tower, between Thursday and Sunday, Signal’s global installations on the App Store and Google Play were approximately 7.5 million, which was more than 43 times the number of installations received in the previous week.
In recent years, as people pay more and more attention to protecting their private information, encrypted messaging services such as Signal have become more and more popular. However, due to confusion caused by the updated terms of service of WhatsApp, an encrypted messaging service owned by Facebook, Signal’s user base has experienced this particular increase.
Last week, Signal was recognized by several prominent figures in Silicon Valley, including Tesla CEO Elon Musk.
Signal’s traffic surge caused some malfunctions. On Thursday, Signal tweeted that the verification code for new user registration may be delayed because “too many new people are trying to join Signal immediately (we can barely register our excitement).” The issue was resolved over the weekend.
On Friday, a Signal employee said in a Reddit post: “We currently have a record number of Signal app downloads worldwide.”
What happened to WhatsApp?
All private messages on WhatsApp between individuals and most businesses are protected by end-to-end encryption, which means the app cannot see them or share them with Facebook (before the system Will notify the user-side encryption). But WhatsApp does collect other user information, such as how and when someone uses the application, and user device information such as IP addresses.
However, these data sharing practices are not new.
What has changed: WhatsApp’s privacy rights were updated for the last time globally in 2016. At the time, it provided WhatsApp users with the option to opt out of sharing data with Facebook, which was only available for a short period of time. In this latest update, the reference to the now-expired opt-out option has been removed.
The more important update of this policy concerns business users of WhatsApp.It disclosed those Using WhatsApp to talk to customers can choose to store their conversation logs on the Facebook hosting service.
A WhatsApp spokesperson said in a statement: “The update will not change the data sharing practices between WhatsApp and Facebook, nor will it affect the way people communicate privately with friends or family around the world,” he added that the company still “Strongly committed to protecting people’s privacy.”
In short: after accepting the new terms, no more WhatsApp user data will be shared with Facebook. That is, unless you opted out in 2016.
WhatsApp has been trying to eliminate confusion about the updated policy, including publishing frequently asked questions about its privacy practices.
Although this policy is not new, the dust has drawn attention to WhatsApp and Facebook’s data sharing practices, and many people may not have read this information before clicking “Agree.” This may encourage users to jump ship, and Signal proved to be the most popular choice.
Signal is another free application that provides encrypted messaging, calling, and video chat. “Encrypted” means encrypting the content of messages until they reach the recipient, and no intermediary can view them. The app is run by the non-profit organization Signal Foundation, which was established in 2018 with the help of WhatsApp co-founder Brian Acton, who left WhatsApp and Facebook last year.
Acton announced the establishment of the foundation in a 2018 statement. Signal aims to establish “sustainable technology that respects users and does not rely on the commercialization of personal data.”
In the wave of new signings, Signal has introduced new features similar to WhatsApp, such as the wallpaper background for chats and the “About” section of the user’s profile.There is a new one apple (AAPL) Policies that require apps to provide labels detailing their privacy practices on the App Store may make it easier for users to compare the policies of various messaging apps.
Signal did not immediately respond to a request for comment about the rush to sign a new contract.
The app has received some high-profile recognition. Tesla (TSLA)Musk tweeted on January 7: “Use Signal”. Twitter (TWTR) CEO Jack Dorsey retweeted the image and later posted an image of Signal at the top of the App Store chart and added text to the title.
Edward Snowden, a former contractor of the National Security Agency, also retweeted Musk’s post and added a message: “This is @signalapp, for those who don’t speak Elon Say”.
Although their tweets did not mention Facebook or WhatsApp, both Musk and Dorsey have criticized the social media giant.
However, some people are clearly confused by Musk’s suggestions.Share of Signal advance (Sigri) In the days after Musk’s tweet, the small Texas-based technology company had nothing to do with the messaging app. The company’s stock price rose by more than 6000%, and then adjusted on Tuesday.
Messaging app Signal posted a cheeky tweet about the confusion, saying: “Is this what stock analysts mean when they say the market sends mixed signals?”