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Signal and Telegram Seeing Huge Waves of New Users Amid WhatsApp Privacy Row

This sudden surge had caused a brief delay in Signal sign-in verification codes from network providers.

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Signal and Telegram Seeing Huge Waves of New Users Amid WhatsApp Privacy Row

Tesla's Elon Musk and whistleblower Edward Snowden recommended Signal on Twitter

Highlights
  • Signal is an open-source messaging app that is focused on privacy
  • It is widely used by journalists and academics around the world
  • So many users tried to switch to Signal that the signups briefly had pro

Signal saw a significant jump in new sign-ups after Elon Musk's tweet advising his followers to use the privacy-focused app, in the wake of concerns about WhatsApp's new privacy policy where it says it would share user data with Facebook. If you're using either Signal or Telegram you know that dozens of your contacts have been signing up for the messaging apps, and many WhatsApp groups are filled with conversations about switching platforms too.

Update (January 9): At 5:26am IST, Signal tweeted that the app has been listed as the top free app on Apple's App Store charts in India, Austria, France, Finland, Germany, Hong Kong, and Switzerland.

The rise in new sign-ups to Signal was apparently so big that verification codes with few network providers were getting delayed. Musk tweeted on Thursday telling people to ‘Use Signal' and this little advice from the world's richest man caused Signal's servers to get overloaded with new sign-ins.
The WhatsApp rival took to Twitter to confirm that it was getting many new requests for new join-ins. This sudden spurge had caused a delay in verification codes from network providers. The glitch was soon fixed and users should now be able to register without any hiccups.

This comes at an opportune time for Signal, as WhatsApp is embroiled in a privacy controversy after it started notifying users to agree to new terms and policies. The fine-print suggested that data sharing with Facebook will become mandatory, but WhatsApp has now clarified that privacy policies for consumers remains unchanged. The new privacy policy change is addressed only to business accounts.

Apart from Musk, whistleblower Edward Snowden also recommended Signal. He replied to a user who asked why they should trust Signal by saying, “Here's a reason: I use it every day and I'm not dead yet.”

Signal is an open-source messaging app that is privacy focused and is widely used by journalists, security experts, and academics across the globe. The Signal protocol also underpins WhatsApp's end-to-end encryption.

Apart from Signal, there are also a lot of users who are seemingly moving away from WhatsApp and joining Telegram as well. Like Signal, Telegram also sends users a notification when their contacts join the platform, and if you were already a user, then you've probably been bombarded with notifications ever since the alarm about WhatsApp's new privacy policy, which also comes with the ultimatum that people won't be able to use the service after February 8, if they don't accept the new terms of service.


Should the government explain why Chinese apps were banned? We discussed this on Orbital, our weekly technology podcast, which you can subscribe to via Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, or RSS, download the episode, or just hit the play button below.

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Further reading: Signal, WhatsApp, Elon Musk, Telegram
Tasneem Akolawala Tasneem Akolawala is a Senior Reporter for Gadgets 360. Her reporting expertise encompasses smartphones, wearables, apps, social media, and the overall tech industry. She reports out of Mumbai, and also writes about the ups and downs in the Indian telecom sector. Tasneem can be reached on Twitter at @MuteRiot, and leads, tips, and releases can be sent to tasneema@ndtv.com. More
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