- WhatsApp will start sharing user data with Facebook on February 8th, and there’s no way to opt out of the new data collection policy.
- Millions of people have downloaded Signal and Telegram on iPhone and Android in response to the news.
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Both Signal and Telegram will offer support for rich instant messaging and voice calling features, just like WhatsApp does.
According to data from Sensor Tower, Signal was downloaded 7.5 million installs globally on iPhone and Android between January 6th and January 10th. That’s 43 times the number from the previous week, CNBC reports.
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. If you weren't able to create a new group recently, please try again. New servers are ready to serve you.
— Signal (@signalapp) January 10, 2021
Signal’s popularity surged last week as Tesla CEO Elon Musk told his followers to “use Signal” in response to Facebook’s WhatsApp change. Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey retweeted Musk.
Signal had problems accommodating its new customers following the surge in downloads.
Verification codes are currently delayed across several providers because so many new people are trying to join Signal right now (we can barely register our excitement). We are working with carriers to resolve this as quickly as possible. Hang in there.
— Signal (@signalapp) January 7, 2021
Telegram saw 5.6 million downloads from Wednesday through Sunday, according to information from Apptopia. Telegram founder Pavel Durov has often criticized Facebook, including WhatsApp, despite the latter’s full encryption support. Durov advised people to delete WhatsApp in previous remarks.
— Telegram Messenger (@telegram) January 8, 2021
Even so, WhatsApp continues to be heavily used, and there are no signs that the app will see a major decline anytime soon. “It’s too ingrained. My guess is there is a very small number of people who use WhatsApp daily that are recently deleting it,” Apptopia’s vice president of insights Adam Blacker told CNBC. “Even those who are downloading and using Signal or Telegram will continue to use WhatsApp as that is where most of their friends and family are. They may start to talk to certain people on Signal but still chat with their mom on WhatsApp.”
If you’re looking to get off WhatsApp and find another cross-platform secure chat apps, you’ll also have to have your friends and family download the new apps. Here’s where you can read more about the apps and download Signal and Telegram on iPhone, Android, and computers.
UPDATE: Telegram does not offer end-to-end encryption by default. Users need to enable Secret chats to take advantage of the extra protection.