Messaging Platform Signal Crashes Due To Surge In Users After WhatsApp’s Privacy Policy Changes

With a sudden surge in downloads and users, the messaging platform Signal faced technical crisis and said that it was experiencing “technical difficulties” even as the firm attempted to upgrade its servers and network.

There has been a surge globally in the downloads of the app in recent days after announcement by the Facebook owned messaging app WhatsApp about it updating its user data privacy policy that will allow it to share user data with Facebook and other group companies. Users of WhatsApp in markets outside of the European Union will have to agree to the new updated privacy policy in order to continue using the app which has resulted in a worldwide outrage among users and privacy advocates.

On Friday, some users of Signal complained of messages not being sent for several hours at a stretch on both the mobile and desktop versions of the app. This was potentially because of clogged bandwidth and server space available with the company because of the sudden surge in the number of users at the cost of its rival WhatsApp since last week. 

It had added servers “at a record pace” and and was striving to soon restore the service, Signal said on Twitter. “Millions upon millions of new users are sending a message that privacy matters,” it said in a tweet.

Worldwide user discontent sparked by WhatsApp’s updated terms and conditions has significantly benefitted Signal as well as Telegram, which is another free to use encrypted messaging app and a rival of the Facebook owned messaging app.

According to the proposed update to its privacy policy, WhatsApp had informed its about 2 billion users that they will have to mandatorily allow the company to share their personal data with its parent company and other sister companies if the users wished to continue using its services. However because of the strict GDPR regulations, the change will not be applied to its users in the EU and the United Kingdom. However the company had sent the notification about the change to everyone.

While stressing that it has already been sharing some of the user data with Facebook for some time now, WhatsApp said that it was not expanding data sharing beyond that. There had been “confusion” about its message, the company said. In that message, WhatsApp users were given an initial time line of February 8 to accept its updated terms of privacy or stop using the service.

But in a most recent decision, that cut off date has been extended by the company to May 15 as the company intends to clear up doubts and misinformation among users in that time period.

“We can’t see your private messages or hear your calls, and neither can Facebook,” WhatsApp said in an earlier FAQ blog post.

In the week before WhatsApp announced the change on 4 January, Signal was downloaded 246,000 times worldwide while it was downloaded 8.8 million times in the week following the WhatsApp announcement, according to data from analytics firm Sensor Tower.

(Adapted from BBC.com)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s