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After WhatsApp controversy, Signal's popularity grows

Monday, January 11, 2021 • Tamil Comments

"I trust Signal because it’s well built, but more importantly, because of how it’s built: open source, peer reviewed, and funded entirely by grants and donations. A refreshing model for how critical services should be built." These are the words of Jack Dorsey, the CEO of Twitter. Signal is a messaging app that is growing in popularity after WhatsApp recently said that its users will have to mandatorily consent to share data with Facebook, WhatsApp's parent company. Among others, Elon Musk and Edward Snowden have also endorsed Signal, suggesting that they prefer it and not WhatsApp, which compromises users' privacy. 

Signal is gaining a lot of traction in India as well. Quoting analytics data put out by Sensor Tower, a report recently said that downloads of Signal app have seen a 79% increase in India from January 1 to January 6 compared to December 26 to December 31. 

A small non-profit team at Signal is said to be working late nights and weekends to keep the app running. The app is getting too many downloads these days. 

While Signal is run entirely by grants and donations, it doesn't necessarily mean all will be hunky dory. Commentator Ram Prasad tweeted, "Signal is not for profit and thus has no reason to sell your data. The part that raises a flag is that it is funded by grants and donations. Grants usually come with some conditions. These are not likely to be privacy-related but access-related. They too can de-platform anyone." 

Besides Signal, Telegram is also an alternative to WhatsApp. It has to be seen how much Signal and Telegram will benefit from the new WhatsApp row.

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