Elon Musk, the wealthiest man, is urging people to move to a messaging service named Signal through WhatsApp and Facebook because of a shift in their policies that has sparked questions about privacy.
When asked about a safer option by his supporters, Tesla CEO Musk called on individuals to turn to more encrypted apps than WhatsApp and Facebook and explicitly listed Signal.
Musk’s tweet comes after Signal and Telegram messaging applications are experiencing a dramatic spike in demand after the revamped terms of service of WhatsApp’s greater rival raised eyebrows on social media.
On Wednesday, WhatsApp, which uses Signal’s encryption technologies, laid out new terms, asking users to continue to let user data, including their phone number and location, be gathered by Facebook Inc and its subsidiaries.
Any privacy campaigners challenged the trend on Twitter to “accept our data grab or get out” and recommended consumers turn to applications such as Signal and Telegram. The visibility of Signal shot up higher on Thursday after it was endorsed by Elon Musk, who has one of the most followed Twitter pages, and the top boss of the micro-blogging platform, Jack Dorsey.
In the last two days, more than 100,000 users have downloaded Signal via Apple and Google app stores, while Telegram has collected almost 2.2 million downloads, according to Sensor Tower, a data analytics company.
In the first seven days of 2021, fresh WhatsApp installs dropped 11 per cent compared with the previous week, but it still amounted to an estimated 10.5 million downloads globally, Sensor Tower said.