WhatsApp Change In Privacy Policy Sees Surge In Download Of Signal And Telegram

Social media users looking for an alternative for Facebook-owned WhatsApp and were concerned about the changes brought in to the privacy policy of the service apparently took to the privacy-focused messaging apps Signal and Telegram resulting in a significant increase in the downloads of these two messaging apps.

According to Sensor Tower, between January 6 and January 10, there was about 7.5 million downloads of Signal globally from the Apple App Store and Google Play store. That was higher by 43 times to the number of downloads of the app the week before. That week also marked the highest weekly and even monthly installation of Signal ever.

On the other hand, according to Apptopia, the number of downloads of Telegram was at 5.6 million globally between Wednesday and Sunday of the same week.

“State-of-the-art end-to-end encryption” is present in Signal, the app claims, which does not allow reading of the messages sent over the app by anyone who is not the intended recipient.

On January 4, an update to its privacy policy was released by WhatsApp following which there was a surge in the download of the two apps. Certain data on its app had been shared with Facebook by WhatsApp since 2016 but previously, there was an option for users to opt out of this sharing of data.

However the Facebook owned app announced that users would be prompted to accept the updated terms if users wanted to continue with the service starting February 8. But because of the protection rules in the jurisdictions of Europe and the United Kingdom, users there will be presented with a different message.

However WhatsApp messages will still remain to be encrypted which means that contents of messages will not be available to Facebook. But a lot of other data is gathered by WhatsApp which can be shared with Facebook, its parent company.

The data input by a user while registering an account on WhatsApp including phone number, transaction data, all service related information, data in how users interact with others including businesses over the messaging service and information about the user’s mobile device are collected by the company and which can be shared with Facebook.

The privacy of messages sent to friends and family will not be impacted by this privacy update, WhatsApp said in a statement on Monday. The company also clarified that the update will include “changes related to messaging a business on WhatsApp, which is optional, and provides further transparency about how we collect and use data.”

The data that it shares with Faecbook is critical in enhancing infrastructure, increasing safety and security and refinement of services by suggesting or personalization features of content, WhatsApp says. The integration between Facebook-branded products and WhatsApp can also be included in this change.

His followers on Twitter were urged to “use Signal” by Tesla CEO Elon Musk last week after the announcement by WhatsApp.

“We continue to shatter traffic records and add capacity as more and more people come to terms with how much they dislike Facebook’s new terms,” Signal said in a tweet. “If you weren’t able to create a new group recently, please try again. New servers are ready to serve you.”

(Adapted from EconomicTimes.com)

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