Neeraj Aggarwal, a spokesperson for a cryptocurrency think tank, has commonly used it Encrypted messaging app signal To chat with privacy-minded colleagues and peers. So he was surprised on Monday when the app alerted him to two new users: Mom and Dad.
“There was still a destructive glow in the signal,” said Mr. Agarwal, 32. “Now my parents are on it.”
On Telegram, another encrypted messaging app, Gavin macnesThe founder of the Far Proud Boys group had just announced his comeback. “Man, I haven’t posted here in a while,” he wrote on Sunday. “I’ll post regularly.”
And on Twitter, billionaire entrepreneur, Elon Musk, also weighed in last week with two words of support: “Use the signal.”
In the past week, millions of people have downloaded the signal and Wire, Making them two of the hottest apps in the world. The signal allows messages to be sent with “end-to-end encryption”, which means none but the sender and receiver can read its contents. Telegram offers some encrypted messaging options, but is quite popular for its group-based chat rooms, where people can discuss a wide range of topics.
His sudden surge in popularity was prompted by a series of events last week that stoked growing concern over some big tech companies and their communications apps such as WhatsApp, which owns Facebook. Tech companies including Facebook and Twitter removed thousands of far-flung accounts President TrumpAfter the storm of the Capitol. Amazon, Apple and Google too Cut off support for parler, a social network popular with Mr. Trump’s fans. In response, conservatives looked for new apps where they could communicate.
At the same time, privacy concerns grew on WhatsApp, which reminded users last week In a pop-up notification It shares some of their data with their parent company. The notification set off a wave of concern, sparked by viral chain messages that claimed Facebook could read WhatsApp messages.
The result was a mass exodus that, if it persists, could weaken the power of Facebook and other large tech companies. On Tuesday, Telegram said it had added more than 25 million users in the last three days, bringing it to more than 500 million users. Signal added about 1.3 million users on Monday, after averaging just 50,000 downloads last year, according to an estimate by the app-data firm, Laptopia.
In a message on the app on Tuesday, Telegram chief executive Pavel Durov said, “We have a surge of downloads before that.” “But this time is different.”
A WhatsApp spokesperson, Karl Woog said that users’ privacy settings had not changed and rumors about the data being shared were largely unfounded.
“What is not changing is that private messages to friends and family, including group chat, will be protected by end-to-end encryption so that we cannot see them,” he said.
Telegram and signal rise may increase Debate on encryption, Which helps protect the privacy of people’s digital communications, but may provoke authorities into investigating crime because the conversation is hidden.
Any move by apps, especially by far-flung groups, has worried US officials, some of whom will be elected next week by President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. is trying to track down the plan for violent rallies at or beyond the inauguration. .
“The proliferation of encrypted platforms, where law enforcement cannot even monitor rhetoric, allows those groups to plan behind the scenes,” said Louis Graver, head of the Association of State Criminal Investigative Agencies.
Capital Riot Fallout
Telegram has been particularly popular for distant people because it mimics social media. So last week Facebook and Twitter limited Mr Trump to his services and other companies began to get their support from the parlor, Parel’s far-flung groups and other fringe social networks posted links to the new Telegram channels and He urged people to join there.
In the four hours since Parler went offline on Monday, a Proud Boys group on Telegram gained more than 4,000 new followers.
“Don’t rely on big technology,” read a message on a proud boys’ group. “We’ll need to find a safe place.”
On Signal, a Florida-based militia group said Monday that it was limited to a few dozen people in small, city-by-city groups, according to messages seen by The New York Times. They warned each other not to let anyone in person, so that law enforcement officers could be spied on their chat.
The influx of users for Telegram, which is based in Dubai, and Signal, which is based in Silicon Valley, goes far beyond just the US. Mr. Durov said that 94 percent of Telegram’s 25 million new users came from Asia, Europe, Latin America, the Middle East and North Africa.
Much of the signal’s new user adoption is coming from outside the United States. As of Wednesday, the company said it was the No. 1 app in 70 countries on iOS devices and in 45 countries on Android devices, with India being one of the largest areas of new user development. The new installations for users in Indonesia, Mexico, Brazil and dozens of other countries came from the data of the Aptoia show, for both Signal and Telegram.
The popularity of Telegram and Signal has increased over fears of WhatsApp’s privacy policies. While there There has been no meaningful change in how WhatsApp handles users’ data., People immediately explained the app’s privacy notification last week, meaning it was intruding all types of personal information – such as personal chat logs and voice calls – and sharing that data with businesses.
WhatsApp quickly said that people were wrong and that it could not see anything inside encrypted chats and calls. But it was too late.
“The whole world is now understanding that Facebook is not creating an app for them, Facebook is creating an app for their data,” Signal founder and chief executive Moxie Marlinspike said. “It was a small catalyst to push everyone to the edge of bringing change.”
The excitement was such that on Tuesday, Los Angeles rapper, Moshe Tsali released a music video for his music.Hit me at the signal. “And Mr. Musk sent Signal’s support last week to publicly traded shares of Signal Advance Inc., a small medical device manufacturer. Soring From about $ 50 million market value to more than $ 3 billion. (The company has no connection with the messaging app.)
Some leaders of the world have also urged people to join apps. On Sunday, the Twitter account of Mexico President Andres Manuel López Obrador talked about his new group on Telegram. As of Wednesday, it had approximately 100,000 members.
Aptopia chief executive Eli Sapir said that people’s concerns about Facebook’s data collection were largely correct, but WhatsApp actually uses more secure encryption than Telegram. “It’s like going from something high in sugar to corn syrup,” he said adding the signal was the safest of the three.
18-year-old Mei Albee, a student in Ibadan, Nigeria, said she was surprised this week when her mother invited her to join Signal. Her mother downloaded the app at the urging of a friend worried about WhatsApp.
“I was in shock because she had met me before,” she said. “We usually tell our parents about new apps. Now suddenly we are being informed. “
Mr. Agrawal, a cryptocurrency activist, said that his parents had been active in several WhatsApp group chats with college friends and relatives in India for a long time. He said that he told them that they had joined Signal, who were roaming there, following many of them, as some participants were worried about WhatsApp’s new policy.
He said that he knew that the dangers of WhatsApp policy were over, but the public did not understand how his data was being handled.
Mr. Agarwal said, “They listen to those key things – data sharing, Facebook, privacy,” and that’s enough for them, I should withdraw from it. “