Become a MacRumors Supporter for $25/year with no ads, private forums, and more!

Encrypted Messaging App Signal Sees Surge in Popularity Following WhatsApp Privacy Policy Update

MacRumors

macrumors bot
Original poster
Apr 12, 2001
51,001
12,542


Encrypted messaging app Signal faced big delays in verifying the phone numbers of new accounts on Thursday because of a sudden surge in people trying to join the platform.


In messages posted from its official Twitter account, the non-profit Signal Foundation said verification codes were delayed across several cellular networks, and that it was working through the backlog as quickly as it could.

While the issue is now said to have been resolved, the surge in Signal signups followed recent privacy policy changes highlighted by rival messaging platform WhatsApp.

On Wednesday, WhatsApp began rolling out its latest terms and privacy policy, which allows the popular messaging app to share a significant amount of user data with Facebook. The changes, which are set to take effect on February 8, 2021, are mandatory and users will not be able to continue using WhatsApp unless they accept the terms.

Users who agree to the terms can expect their WhatsApp account registration and phone number, transaction data, service-related information, interaction information, mobile device information, IP address, and other data to be shared with Facebook.

Facebook told The Verge the updated terms related to messaging with businesses, and that nothing is changing for regular users, however the lack of an opt-out option and the amount of data sharing highlighted by the updated policy has raised privacy concerns.

Last month, WhatsApp publicly protested Apple's requirement that developers submit information about what user data they collect for privacy labels on the App Store, saying that it could give its messaging app a competitive disadvantage.


Signal's uptick in users was also linked to tweets posted by Tesla CEO Elon Musk, who recently became the world's richest person. As noted by The Verge, Musk continued a trend of criticizing Facebook with a Twitter post on Wednesday evening, following the attack on the U.S. Capitol building.

Musk shared a meme suggesting the founding of Facebook had ultimately led to the day's events, and followed it up with a tweet suggesting his 41.5 million followers "use Signal," presumably instead of a Facebook-owned product like WhatsApp. Musk's suggestion was later retweeted by Edward Snowden, another prominent Signal fan.


Notably, the Signal Foundation was co-founded and funded by Brian Acton, the former WhatsApp co-founder who left the company after it was bought by Facebook in 2014. Acton later urged his Twitter followers to delete Facebook.

Note: Due to the political or social nature of the discussion regarding this topic, the discussion thread is located in our Political News forum. All forum members and site visitors are welcome to read and follow the thread, but posting is limited to forum members with at least 100 posts.

Article Link: Encrypted Messaging App Signal Sees Surge in Popularity Following WhatsApp Privacy Policy Update
 
Last edited:

contacos

macrumors 6502
Nov 11, 2020
385
756
Mexico City born
Just tried to sign up myself and I am also not receiving the code. The CAPCHA are also barely working or too picky. „Does this part count as part of a traffic light“ hmmmm
 
  • Wow
Reactions: amartinez1660
Comment

Le0M

macrumors regular
Aug 13, 2020
114
192
Signal asks for your phone number in order to use the App.
Use Session instead. This one doesn't ask anything. They just give you a random ~30 characters ID you gotta save somewhere, and that's it. Nothing can be linked to you personally at all.
 
Comment

Hansana

macrumors regular
Jul 2, 2014
191
229
Signal asks for your phone number in order to use the App.
Use Session instead. This one doesn't ask anything. They just give you a random ~30 characters ID you gotta save somewhere, and that's it. Nothing can be linked to you personally at all.

How do they make money if it’s free? I just looked it up. Sounds too good to be true. Thanks for referring that up app :)
 
  • Like
Reactions: amartinez1660
Comment

Mike_Trivisonno

Contributor
Jul 11, 2015
165
271
No form of electronic communication is private. Governments and the global corporations that control them have access to everything any time they want. If you want to conduct a private conversation, do it in person at least 10 miles from any electrical service...and even then you could be monitored on from space if the elite think you need that level of scrutiny.
 
Comment

vicviper789

macrumors regular
Jun 5, 2013
209
1,199
No form of electronic communication is private. Governments and the global corporations that control them have access to everything any time they want. If you want to conduct a private conversation, do it in person at least 10 miles from any electrical service...and even then you could be monitored on from space if the elite think you need that level of scrutiny.

I'll have what he's having!
 
Comment

laptech

macrumors 6502a
Apr 26, 2013
645
919
Earth
Anybody that moves away from WhatsApp to a rival app which then increases that app's userbase, Facebook Inc will just come along and purchase Signal so Facebook can take advantage of it's userbase. They did it with Instagram, bought it then changed it's terms and conditions so it's users information could be passed over to Facebook legally and now they are doing it to whatsApp. Change it's terms and conditions so all the users of whatsApp have their information handed over to Facebook.
 
Comment

rgeneral

macrumors regular
Dec 2, 2012
164
410
Anybody that moves away from WhatsApp to a rival app which then increases that app's userbase, Facebook Inc will just come along and purchase Signal so Facebook can take advantage of it's userbase. They did it with Instagram, bought it then changed it's terms and conditions so it's users information could be passed over to Facebook legally and now they are doing it to whatsApp. Change it's terms and conditions so all the users of whatsApp have their information handed over to Facebook.
They cannot now as the government will stop them. In fact. I sincerely hope they will break them up.
 
Comment

Mitthrawnuruodo

Moderator emeritus
Mar 10, 2004
14,061
565
Bergen, Norway
How do they make money if it’s free? I just looked it up. Sounds too good to be true. Thanks for referring that up app :)
"Signal is free of advertisements and free for you to use! As an Open Source project supported by grants and donations, Signal can put users first."

 
Comment

TimWillz

macrumors regular
Apr 3, 2013
181
116
United Kingdom
This is very welcome news.

It is clearer than ever the damaging affect this attention economy that Facebook live/earn by is having on society. It’s about time we all started taking action.

For me it’s iMessage for iOS-iOS messaging and Signal for iOS-non iOS messaging.
 

Attachments

  • A8AAAFC8-B7E8-4829-BEA2-2750AE9F73C2.jpeg
    A8AAAFC8-B7E8-4829-BEA2-2750AE9F73C2.jpeg
    202.7 KB · Views: 91
Comment

apparatchik

macrumors 6502
Mar 6, 2008
272
648
Sadly most of my work-related and personal communications are done by Whatsapp, it has replaced SMS and phone calls where I live so its not feasible to dump it unless we all switch together. My hope is on the antitrust case that looks to divert Facebook from Whatsapp & Instagram, making them at least independent again...
 
  • Like
Reactions: one more and Agit21
Comment

Username32123

macrumors regular
Jun 22, 2020
115
342
Could someone elaborate on the extent of the data they can actually transmit to Facebook given that the conversations are end-to-end encrypted... are we only talking names, phone numbers, display pics? Do WhatsApp/FB have the keys to the encryption?
 
Comment
Register on MacRumors! This sidebar will go away, and you'll see fewer ads.