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Signal usage is skyrocketing after WhatsApp’s disastrous privacy policy changes

Millions are jumping to Signal as Facebook-owned WhatsApp’s new privacy policy deadline looms.

Signal usage is skyrocketing after WhatsApp’s disastrous privacy policy changes
[Photo: Adem AY/Unsplash]
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Since 2021 began, millions of people have jumped ship to Signal, the private messaging app, according to data from app analytics and marketing firm Sensor Tower. As a matter of fact, Signal just achieved a massive milestone: It surpassed 100 million installs worldwide.

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The reason for the boom? In early 2021, Facebook announced it would be revamping WhatsApp’s privacy policy to allow the app to share more user data with businesses. The move freaked many people out, especially when charts like the one below quickly spread online showing just how little privacy Facebook’s messaging apps provide compared to others.

That data in the image above is pulled from Apple’s App Store privacy labels developers must self-report. See that empty “data linked to you” box on the left? That’s Signal. And the fact that the app collects no data linked to a user is one of the reasons the exodus from WhatsApp led users to Signal. Shortly after that exodus began, Facebook announced it was delaying WhatsApp’s privacy policy changes until May 15. Users now have until then to accept the new privacy policy. If not? WhatsApp users will slowly lose access to their messages.

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No wonder, as Sensor Tower’s data shows, the great migration to Signal is still going strong. Specifically, Sensor Tower notes:

  • Signal now has over 102 million installs globally across the Apple App Store and Google Play Store.
  • 61.4 million downloads of Signal have happened in 2021 alone. That’s not bad for a year that is less than three months old. It’s also a 309% increase in overall Signal downloads in 2020.
  • India has the largest number of new downloads of Signal in 2021, with an accumulated 23 million installs. To understand how significant that number is, prior to 2021, Signal only had 1.6 million lifetime installs in the country. That means the first three months of 2021 account for 93% of all Signal downloads ever in India. Talk about growth on steroids. This is also bad news for Facebook, as India is a country where WhatsApp has historically been the de facto messaging app of choice.

The privacy benefits of Signal cannot be understated. It even offers more privacy than Apple’s privacy-focused Messages app (again, refer to the chart above). So do yourself a favor and check out Signal today.

About the author

Michael Grothaus is a novelist, journalist, and former screenwriter. His debut novel EPIPHANY JONES is out now from Orenda Books. You can read more about him at MichaelGrothaus.com

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