How Elon Musk & WhatsApp Helped Signal & Telegram

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How Elon Musk & WhatsApp Helped Signal & Telegram

Signal and Telegram’s downloads have skyrocketed recently. At the same time, WhatsApp now requires some data to be shared with Facebook.

With a two-word Tweet and a little help from WhatsApp‘s new terms and privacy policy, Elon Musk may have helped fuel the huge number of downloads for both Signal and Telegram in recent days. As concerns over WhatsApp’s information sharing procedures continue to grow, it seems that many have sought out replacement communication services to stay in touch with friends and family. Musk, the billionaire leader of companies like Tesla and SpaceX, offered his own brief encouragement to make the switch.

Signal operates similarly to WhatsApp, in the sense that it allows users to send texts, voice messages, photos, videos, GIFs, and files for free. It also recently added encrypted group calls to the platform. Meanwhile, Telegram is an instant messaging app that supports large file transfers up to 1.5 GB per file. Both have previously been viewed as competitors to a service like WhatsApp, though the latter was largely seen as the favorite for its usability.

Related: WhatsApp Removing Option To Stop Facebook Accessing Account Data

Now that WhatsApp is essentially forcing some data to be shared with Facebook (its parent company), the tide seems to be changing. Telegram recently tweeted that it had surpassed 500 million active users, thanks to an influx of 25 million in a 72-hour period. Signal reported equally incredible growth, tweeting that verification codes had to be delayed because of how many people were trying to join the platform at the same time. Not entirely coincidentally, Musk added his thoughts to the matter with a message to his 42 million Twitter followers declaring “Use Signal.”

Breaking Down The Tweet Timeline

Whatsapp closer look

At 4:56 a.m. PST on Jan. 7, Musk sent out the two-word endorsement of Signal. At 9:53 a.m. that same morning, Signal began a thread of tweets about the rapid growth of users on the platform that stretched out over the next three days.

Not to be left out, Telegram revealed its meteoric rise in users a few days later, on Jan. 12.

Musk is a very powerful figure in the tech world, and has proven his influence as a public entity time and time again. However, it’s unlikely that Signal and Telegram’s instantaneous rise in popularity is all down to the tech mogul. The underlying circumstances of the mass adoption of these apps is likely to be the result of WhatsApp and its decision to make sharing data with Facebook a requirement for using the platform. This almost certainly drove many users away from WhatsApp, due to fears of what Facebook might do with their data.

WhatsApp has always been an instrumental way for people to communicate with friends and family around the world. As it just so happens, Telegram’s statistical breakdown of its new users showed that 38-percent came from Asia, 27-percent from Europe, 21-percent from Latin America, and 8-percent were from the Middle East. These numbers suggest that, in order to stay in contact with those close to them around the globe without having to worry about where their information is headed, many are turning to WhatsApp’s alternatives, such as Signal and Telegram.

Next: FTC Orders TikTok, WhatsApp & Others To Explain Data Collection & Usage

Source: Elon Musk/Twitter

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