Monday, January 18, 2021
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WhatsApp Privacy Policy update increases users of Signal and other alternates

The mandatory update in Privacy Policy and Terms & Conditions by WhatsApp has forced users to explore other alternatives of the messaging platform. The new policy update allows increased integration of user data with the Facebook group of companies. WhatsApp users were asked to accept the new policy if they wished to continue using the app with a deadline of 8th Feb 2021. The ultimatum irked a lot of existing users of the instant messaging platform with privacy concerns who are now looking to switch to alternate apps like Signal, Telegram, Viber, etc.

Recently crowned the world’s richest person – Elon Musk, particularly known for his straightforward remarks, tweeted in support of the ‘Signal’ app post the policy update by WhatsApp. The two worded tweet ‘Use Signal’ by the CEO of Tesla and SpaceX led to a surge in new users of Signal. The signal became the top free app on the App Store in India as more than one lakh users have installed Signal in the last two days.

The flood of new users on Signal even caused a delay in sending verification codes by the app. Musk’s tweet created a rippling effect as the share price of an unrelated stock with a similar name – Signal Advance Inc surged 1,100% such that Signal messaging app had to issue a statement clarifying that it is a different company altogether.

Signal App is lauded as being the most secure messaging app. Architected by one of the co-founders of WhatsApp, Signal is operated by a non-profit organization, is available for free, contains no ads, and offers peer to peer encryption on texts, voice and video calls. While WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger share location, contacts, purchases, financial information, and other information of users, Signal on the other hand does not use data linked to users.

Further, unlike WhatsApp, it also does not offer third-party backup options instead backup is stored on internal phone storage. However, this also means that if one loses access to their phone and sign in to the Signal account on a new phone, their old data would be lost. Tapping on the opportunity, the Signal app has even provided a feature to migrate chats from other messaging apps to its platform.

Other than Signal, Telegram is also a powerful alternative to WhatsApp and has witnessed over 2.2 million downloads from new users in the past two days. Thousands of existing WhatsApp users have already deleted WhatsApp and migrated to other apps. If the trend continues, it may soon lead to the end of WhatsApp’s monopoly and open doors for newer messaging apps in the market.