Many users are now churning to the privacy-focused messaging app, Signal, over WhatsApp’s privacy concern. As a result, it has become the top free app on the App Store in a country like India.
The primary reason is that WhatsApp users can’t refrain from sharing data with Facebook any more.
Earlier, WhatsApp, founded by Jan Koum and Brian Acton, began as an ad-free, secure messaging service, helping it acquire users across the globe. Facebook acquired the platform in 2014 for $19 billion. Kaum quit after four years later citing differences with Facebook over data privacy, or using user data for targeted ads, media reports said at the time. Facebook had gone ahead with the plan to monetise WhatsApp
- Account registration information (such as phone numbers)
- Service-related information
- Transaction data, if users use WhatsApp Pay or purchase products through it
- Information on how you communicate with others (including businesses) when using WhatsApp Mobile device information
- IP address
- Other ‘Information We Collect’ or gathered “upon notice to you or based on your consent”
It all started after Tesla and SpaceX CEO openly approved of the app urging everyone to use it.
Over the last three years, Signal has also been investing to develop infrastructure and features for being user-friendly. The positive thing is that Signal observed an increase in the number of users during the spring as people protesting against the killing of George Floyd realized how closely law enforcement was monitoring them and seeking user data from organizations. Its popularity has grown since then. As of now, Signal is at the top of the Apple App Store and Google Play Store, and its two-factor authentication onboarding system even got delayed for a while on Thursday as too many users attempted signing up.
Are you joining Signal?
Well, if you are concerned about your privacy, then it’s a welcome idea. Why allowing compromise on your privacy?
What is Signal?
SIGNAL is a free, privacy-focused messaging and voice talk app you can use on Apple and Android smartphones apart from desktops. You only require a phone number to join. Do send texts or make voice or video calls with friends, either one-on-one or in groups, and use emoji reactions or stickers similar to other apps. Sole difference lies in the fact that SIGNAL is authentically private.
Is the app secured enough?
Communications on Signal are end-to-end encrypted, which implies that only the people in messages can view the content of those messages, not even the company itself. Sticker packs feature their own special encryption too.
SIGNAL created the encryption protocol that other applications including WhatsApp and Skype use. The bottom line is that it has set the benchmark for the gold standard of privacy.
Is Signal truly private?
Yes, it is and that privacy goes beyond the fact that the content of your messages is encrypted. You can set messages to disappear beyond specific customizable time frames. Additionally, Signal gathers no data virtually from its users. The sole information you provide is your phone number, and the company is trying to decouple that from using Signal by making encrypted contact servers. Be rest assured that you are not parting with any data whatsoever.
SIGNAL is a non-profit organization, not a profit-seeking company. It has no advertising, so no incentive to surveil users. Rather, it’s funded by grants and private investors. A small group of privacy activists formed Signal in 2013. It has grown in recent years. In 2018, WhatsApp founder Brian Acton donated $50 million to establish the Signal Foundation, which now runs Signal. Acton came on board with the aim of making it a truly private messaging service post-acquisition of WhatsApp by Facebook. Acton reportedly resigned from the company over differences with Facebook about how it was eroding WhatsApp’s privacy.
Signal vs. WhatsApp
Both Signal and WhatsApp are end-to-end encrypted employing the same technology. The content of the messages you send and calls you make are both private. But, Facebook gathers lots of other information in the form of usage statistics, metadata, and more. There’s no other way out.
Signal does not contain as many alluring customization features as WhatsApp, like backgrounds. However, when it comes to genuine privacy, there is no comparison.
Signal does not moderate content too, but it restricts groups to 1,000 and is more about communicating with people who are original contacts than joining groups of strangers like on WhatsApp.
How to Install Signal?
You can search Signal in Apple’s App Store or in the Google Play store. It’s presently very convenient to locate as it’s right on the top of the Free Apps chart.
Play store link:- https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=org.thoughtcrime.securesms
App Store Link:- https://apps.apple.com/us/app/signal-private-messenger/id874139669