Signal and Telegram messaging apps are seeing an unexpected increase in demand after larger rival WhatsApp’s updated terms of service raised concerns on social media. Millions of people are outraged by the latest change in WhatsApp Terms, which now says users must feed all their private data to Facebook’s ad engine.
WhatsApp, which uses Signal’s encryption technology, laid out fresh terms on Wednesday, asking users to agree to let owner Facebook Inc and its subsidiaries collect user data, including their phone number and location.
Some privacy activists questioned the “accept our data grab or get out” move on Twitter, and suggested users to switch to apps like Signal and Telegram.
The popularity of Signal shot up further on Thursday after it was endorsed by Elon Musk, who has one of Twitter’s most-followed accounts and the top boss of the micro-blogging site, Jack Dorsey.
The in-app notification did not elicit many details but clicking on the links mentioned the key changes in how WhatsApp will collect and process users’ information going forward, and the partnership with Facebook, its parent company, as part of a larger unification drive between the family of apps.
More than 100,000 users installed Signal across the app stores of Apple and Google in the last two days, while Telegram picked up nearly 2.2 million downloads, according to data analytics firm Sensor Tower.
New installs of WhatsApp fell 11% in the first seven days of 2021 compared with the prior week, but that still amounted to an estimated 10.5 million downloads globally, Sensor Tower said.
To recall, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg in October said that the company is working hard to merge Messenger, Instagram, and WhatsApp so that they can start to function a little bit more like one connected interoperable system.
In a bid to allow cross-messaging among its family of apps, Facebook has reportedly started merging Instagram and Messenger chats. The social network has already integrated Messenger rooms with WhatsApp on the Web.