WhatsApp has continued to welcome more backlashes from global users ever since it introduced its latest “do or die” terms of service.
In the latest update, the Facebook-owned app somewhat mandates users to agree to the use of the data collected on the platform.
Where a user fails to agree to the new terms of service, they are but left with only one option – to be kicked out of the platform.
While Facebook’s persuasion is seen as coercion, many users around the globe are making plans to boycott the platform for another alternative.
So which app stands a better chance?
Signal, an alternative instant messaging app similar to WhatsApp has been on the front pages of publications recently.
Similarly, there has been a lot of conversation around the typical one-tap install app across other social media platforms including Twitter where it had gained more interest.
Although making use of a similar model as WhatsApp, Telegram, and their likes, Signal is dubbed as an open-source initiative provided for free by a non-profit Signal Foundation.
The platform, unlike WhatsApp, prides itself on its ability to protect users’ privacy at zero cost.
Mind you, the app’s byline or tagline reads “Say hello to privacy,” something that is lacked on the more prominent WhatsApp platform.
More so, it offers a seamless end-to-end encrypted chat experience alongside the in-app picture, video, and audio messaging options.
With these amazing messaging features, Signal is gradually becoming a go-to for most people seeking a new alternative in the wake of WhatsApps’ excesses.
Is Signals’ sudden rise to fame coincidence or planned?
It’s pretty hard to tell if Signal has been waiting for a time like this to hasten its rise to stardom.
However, unlike a pre-planned narrative, this newly-found fame by Signal looks more like a coincidence.
The non-profit Signal Foundation officially launched in 2014.
Founded by the former Chief Executive of WhatsApp, Brian Action and Moxie Marlinspike with initial funding of $50 million, Signal now currently boasts of over 10 million downloads.
Giving this timeframe, it is clear that Signal’s sudden rise to fame wasn’t prepared for, although, such cannot be ruled out in terms of expectation.
While the newly-found fame was majorly triggered by WhatsApp’s recently released coercive term of service, Signal has also been endorsed by popular individuals and labels in recent times.
For instance, billionaire business magnate, Elon Musk tweeted randomly that people should “use Signal” and this has subsequently resulted in more downloads of the apps.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) January 7, 2021
That’s aside, the fact that the non-profit organisation’s stock subsequently went up by over 1100% as a result of Musk’s tweet, how powerful!
— Er. G.Anand Choudhary (@Gaj_Karwashra) January 10, 2021
More so, as a result of Musk’s endorsement, more notable public figures have also weighed in to support migration from WhatsApp to Signal.
Also, Jack tweeted about the app when it was ranked number 1 on the top chart of the most downloaded app on Apple’s App Store.
— jack (@jack) January 10, 2021
Although this movement has been met with a mixed reaction, it has yielded more benefits for Signal which is on the receiving end.
WhatsApp VS Signal
Firstly, there is a common element between these two apps – both apps are created or funded by the same creator, Brian Action.
While that might seem like a subtle point, it possesses a back story that’s capable of driving the required market sentiment to fortify the usage of Signal.
That aside, both WhatsApp and Signal share a lot in common ranging from being a messaging platform, to being a non-profit app, although the latter narrative is about to change for WhatsApp.
While both apps’ claim to channel end-to-end encrypted messages between users, WhatsApp seems to want more in its own endeavour.
The Facebook-owned entity is experimenting with different alternatives to becoming a profitable company.
WhatsApp’s plan to share its user-generated data with third-party apps like Facebook, Instagram, and perhaps other unknown entities is the latest attempt to make a profit off the platform.
On the other hand, Signal remains unbothered about profitability considering that it is an open-source initiative that is crowd-funded.
Data collection Saga
Also, in terms of data collection, Signal only collects users’ phone numbers; however, it does not intend to link that to users’ identity which is still a fair deal for a free app.
Still on data protection, Signal uses an open-source signal protocol to implement end-to-end encryption.
— Signal (@signalapp) January 5, 2021
Although similar to that of WhatsApp, Signal is more unique and secure in the sense that it further encrypts users’ metadata.
Contrary to the above, WhatsApp collects numerous data from its users, including:
- Device ID
- User ID
- Advertising data
- Purchase history
- User location
- Phone Number
- Email address
- Product interaction
- Customer support
- Performance data
- Crash data
- Other user content, among others.
In terms of aesthetics, WhatsApp is the app to beat as Signal doesn’t boast of as much fancy background or customizable features as its fellow rival.
However, in an era where privacy is a golden virtue, Signal is the real deal.
How to download the Signal app
Available to all iOS and Android users around the globe, the Signal app can be downloaded via Apple’s app store or Google’s Play Store.
You can get this right by simply following these step:
- Open your Apple store or Google Play Store; download and install Signal Private Messenger
- Once installed, tap open to access the app
- You will be prompted to provide your phone number
- On the other hand, iPhone users will be required to select ‘Activate This Device’
- Afterward, you will be prompted to enter a six-digit code that the app will send you via SMS to the provided contact number
- If your device has the SIM of the contact number provided in it, then it will verify you automatically. Otherwise, users can verify the code manually.
- Once verified, tap on Submit.
- Signal will subsequently seek permission to send you notifications. Tap on “allow”
- You will be prompted to set your profile picture and name. Mind you, this is the name that will be displayed to your recipients.
- Once the setup is complete. Signal will require the receiver to download the app in order to have your message delivered.
More comments from users on Twitter
Amidst the mixed reactions to this, below are what people have to say:
I wish @signalapp never gets into Facebook or WhatsApp operating model. Going by the initial impressions, I like the way they are focused on privacy of individuals. Keep it up 👍
— Immy (@droidshake) January 11, 2021
We're leaving WhatsApp for good!
Which SM App do you prefer to move to?🥴
RT 🔄for Like ♥️ for
Telegram Signal pic.twitter.com/1xUNLhcTU3
— Effaaaaamadi💕🇵🇸🇲🇾 (@effaMadi) January 11, 2021
I am very happy to see so many people shifting to Signal now, @elonmusk's tweet played a huge role. One year ago I could see only 2 people on my Signal contact list which is now 40! tried my best convincing people, hope they understand privacy now@signalapp https://t.co/rBvjq9KODv
— Anukriti Singh (@singhanukriti) January 10, 2021
This is awesome. I have moved to @signalapp. Hope the power, fame and money doesn't make you another @Facebook. Looking forward to bringing my homies on it. #WhatsAppPrivacyPolicy #Facebook pic.twitter.com/0QdbvJjRge
— Aminuddin Shroff ⭕️ (@AminuddinShroff) January 10, 2021