Signal had about 7.5 million installations globally from the App Store and Google Play between Thursday and Sunday, more than 43 times the installations it received during the previous week, according to market intelligence firm Sensor Tower.
Signal also received endorsements last week from several of Silicon Valley’s biggest names, including Tesla CEO Elon Musk.
What’s happening with WhatsApp?
However, these data sharing practices are not new, according to the company.
Here’s what has changed: WhatsApp’s privacy was last updated globally in 2016. At the time, it offered WhatsApp users the ability to opt-out of sharing data with Facebook, an option that was available for only a short time. In this latest update, the reference to that now-expired opt-out option has been removed.
The more significant update to the policy relates to WhatsApp’s business users. It discloses that businesses that use WhatsApp to talk to customers can choose to store logs of their conversations on Facebook hosting services.
“The update does not change WhatsApp’s data sharing practices with Facebook and does not impact how people communicate privately with friends or family wherever they are in the world,” a WhatsApp spokesperson said in a statement, adding that the company remains “deeply committed to protecting people’s privacy.”
In short: No additional WhatsApp user data will be shared with Facebook after accepting the new terms than was shared before. That is, unless you took advantage of the opt-out in 2016.
While the policy isn’t new, the dustup has drawn attention to WhatsApp’s data sharing practices with Facebook which many people might not have read before clicking “agree.” That may be encouraging users to jump ship, with Signal proving to be the most popular alternative.
Acton said in a 2018 statement announcing the launch of the foundation that Signal aims to build “sustainable technology that respects users and does not rely on the commoditization of personal data.”
Signal did not immediately respond to a request for comment regarding the rush of new sign-ups.
Signal, the messaging app, posted a cheeky tweet about the mix-up, saying: “Is this what stock analysts mean when they say that the market is giving mixed Signals?”