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WhatsApp scrambles to stem the flow of users moving to rivals Signal and Telegram as millions protest against controversial privacy policy

WhatsApp has been losing users to Signal and Telegram because of privacy concerns. (Image source: CatalystIndependent/Stick - edited)
WhatsApp has been losing users to Signal and Telegram because of privacy concerns. (Image source: CatalystIndependent/Stick - edited)
WhatsApp has taken to social media channels to try to allay deep concerns that users have been voicing about data sharing and privacy. The company has decided to extend the deadline for its terms update acceptance from February 8 to May 15. However, millions have already decided to move to rival messenger services such as Signal and Telegram.
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Recently, WhatsApp revealed an upcoming terms and conditions update that subscribers had to agree to in order to keep using the world’s most widely used cross-platform instant messaging application. Originally, WhatsApp users had until February 8 to accept the new terms, which included different ways user data was going to be shared with the messenger service’s parent company, Facebook.

Unsurprisingly, this news hasn’t gone down too well with millions of WhatsApp’s two billion regular users, who have now sought alternative instant messaging clients with privacy policies that aren’t perceived to be either as invasive or as unprotected as those of WhatsApp. This means rival services like Signal and Telegram have been receiving millions of new subscribers, something which both have been happy to boast about.

Signal’s servers couldn’t cope with the huge influx of new users, with the company sharing how it had 10 million+ installations via Google Play on January 12 and 50 million+ later that same day. Signal also couldn’t help taking a little dig at its currently beleaguered rival, stating: “privacy is our top priority, but adding capacity is a close second right now.” Telegram also revealed it had welcomed 25 million users in just 72 hours, with co-founder Pavel Durov pointedly expressing “people no longer want to exchange their privacy for free services”.

WhatsApp has attempted to deal with users’ concerns by extending the user agreement deadline to May 15 and explaining that neither WhatsApp nor Facebook can see private messages or hear private calls. The company has posted a graphic (see below) to help explain how private messages are protected, but it’s likely the exodus of users will continue. Although WhatsApp users in the UK and Europe will also have to accept the new terms to keep using the service, the strict European privacy regulations mean that there will be no additional data-sharing going on.

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WhatsApp privacy protection. (Image source: @WhatsApp)
WhatsApp privacy protection. (Image source: @WhatsApp)

Source(s)

@WhatsApp (1/2) & WhatsApp blog & @telegram & Durov's Channel & @signalapp (1/2) & BBC News (1/2/3/4)

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Daniel R Deakin
Daniel R Deakin - Managing Editor News - 2496 articles published on Notebookcheck since 2012
My interest in technology began after I was presented with an Atari 800XL home computer in the mid-1980s. I especially enjoy writing about technological advances, compelling rumors, and intriguing tech-related leaks. I have a degree in International Relations and Strategic Studies and count my family, reading, writing, and travel as the main passions of my life. I have been with Notebookcheck since 2012.
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> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > News > News Archive > Newsarchive 2021 01 > WhatsApp scrambles to stem the flow of users moving to rivals Signal and Telegram as millions protest against controversial privacy policy
Daniel R Deakin, 2021-01-16 (Update: 2021-01-16)