WhatsApp claims the new terms and conditions won’t materially change your experience within the app. However, one tidbit has been highlighted by users concerned about the new terms and conditions.
It reads: “As part of the Facebook family of companies, WhatsApp receives information from, and shares information with, this family of companies. We may use the information we receive from them, and they may use the information we share with them, to help operate, provide, improve, understand, customise, support, and market our services and their offerings.”
WhatsApp claims this passage only refers to business communications. Consumers will not see Facebook adverts based on the topic of their conversations within WhatsApp.
The market-leading chat app has also said that – while UK and European users need to agree to the new Ts and Cs – they won’t be impacted by these Facebook data sharing changes.
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However, that hasn’t stopped a number of privacy-focused rivals, such as Telegram and Signal, enjoying a healthy boost from users concerned about the new small print.
Signal prides itself as “private messenger,” which offers “state-of-the-art end-to-end encryption” to keep “your conversations secure”.
On their official app listing Signal says: “Privacy isn’t an optional mode — it’s just the way that Signal works. Every message, every call, every time.”
And, as reported by Android Police, in the aftermath of WhatsApp notifying users about their upcoming privacy and terms changes Signal has received a big boost.
In regions around the world Signal has been surging up the charts of most downloaded apps on the Apple App Store and Google Play Store.
In both the UK and US Signal has found itself at the top of the charts of the Google Play Store, while in other regions such as Germany and France the chat app has been top of the charts too.
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At the time of writing, Signal is currently the number two app in the UK’s Apple App Store – behind Microsoft Teams in the top spot. However, Signal is five places ahead of WhatsApp which is languishing in seventh, and is also behind another chat app rival Telegram.
It remains to be seen whether Signal can continue this push for new users, or if the latest download charts just mark a brief flirtation away from WhatsApp for many iOS and Android users.
However, there have been growing calls from a number of prominent figures for chat app users to turn to Signal instead. The most high-profile call came from Tesla founder Elon Musk, the richest man on the planet.
Musk recently tweeted: “Use Signal”.
And it looks like Musk’s message did the trick, with Signal afterwards reporting a huge jump in user numbers.
The official Signal Twitter posted: “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.”