Last week WhatsApp changed its usage policies, warning its users that as of February 8, it would start sharing some personal data with Facebook, including phone number and locations. A measure that infuriated many Internet users who use the chat application to share encrypted data.
Despite the controversy, WhatsApp later clarified that these changes had only effect outside the European Union and the United Kingdom, in addition to that private messages would not be shared, as it says in its support page.
As an immediate effect, many users sought alternatives to WhatsApp, and the Signal and Telegram apps skyrocketed in the number of downloads. Despite Telegram having won 9 million downloads (91% more), the benefit of the demand was Signal, which despite less access, 7.5 million new users, this represented a growth of 4,200% compared to the previous week, according to Sensor Tower data. Signal, in particular, benefited from free publicity by some public figures, such as Elon Musk and Edward Snowden.
The largest growth in applications was in India, with Signal being installed by 2.3 million new users, an increase of 30%; and 1.5 million downloads of Telegram, representing an increase of 16%. In the United States, Signal had 1 million new downloads, making it the second country with the most access to the app.
In the United States, during demonstrations and protests over the murder of George Floyd at the hands of the police, the application peaked at 121,000 downloads. The reason for choosing Signal is the guarantee that only the sender and the recipient can access the messages, without the danger of the police having access to them.