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What is Signal app? Should you leave WhatsApp for it?

What is signal app: someone typing in a messaging app

If you’re a WhatsApp user, you’ll have seen a pop-up notification from the app referencing a privacy update. For those of us that clicked through, the content was far from clear, but many people interpreted it as a change in policy resulting in personal information being shared with WhatsApp’s parent company, Facebook. The result has been a wave of user uproar, and a rise in popularity of alternative messaging apps—most notably Signal. Still, for many of us, there are more questions than answers. Is WhatsApp now giving all our information to Facebook for advertising purposes? What is Signal app? And how did Elon Musk’s name get into another controversy? We’ll try to answer these questions and more with this summary of the situation.

Is WhatsApp now sharing personal information with Facebook?

Yes and no. The “yes” refers to the fact that information is indeed shared with the larger Facebook network. The “no” refers to the “now” aspect. Unless you opted out during a short period in 2016, WhatsApp has actually been sharing limited information including your phone number and profile name with its parent network this whole time.

The WhatsApp privacy update largely had two purposes. The first was to clarify the information it shares. The second was to disclose that, following changes to business chats last year, businesses who use Facebook to host their WhatsApp chats can access the information gathered therein and use it for advertising purposes and the like.

Unfortunately for WhatsApp, they did a pretty poor job of communicating what has and hasn’t changed. Despite an attempt to clarify, negative sentiment towards the app has exploded. Suspicious users have been seeking out alternatives, and while the already popular Telegram has seen an uptick in downloads, the app Signal has reaped the most benefit.

What is Signal app?

Signal is a messaging app that operates almost identically to competitors like WhatsApp and Telegram. You sign up with a phone number and can then participate in private chats, group chats, and group calls with all the expected bells and whistles. Unlike the others, however, all communications in Signal, including file transfers, are end-to-end encrypted. Also, the app code is completely open-source, allowing for a singular level of transparency. Signal isn’t even owned by tech company, but rather, is run by a non-profit organization. In today’s data-hungry corporate online world, Signal strikes people as a shining light. And with a simple two-word tweet “Use Signal” to his 42.4 million followers, Elon Musk was instrumental in making Signal one of the most downloaded apps in both major app stores.

Should I switch to Signal?

With all the confusion about WhatsApp’s privacy policy, alternative apps saw a big jump in downloads. Telegram saw a two-fold jump at the beginning of January, while Signal was downloaded 17.8 million times—an astonishing 61-fold increase from the previous week.

Armed with more accurate information, you can now make an informed decision. If the fact that Facebook has had your phone number this whole time doesn’t really bother you, and you don’t plan on messaging businesses, then not a heck of a lot is going to change. You’ll also have to take into consideration the fact that its unlikely you’ll be able to convince more than a fraction of your regular contacts to make the switch.

If privacy is a big concern, then you absolutely should look into Signal as a messaging alternative. Remember, WhatsApp’s parent company is Facebook. Their raison d’etre is collecting data about you, which paying advertisers can then use to target ads. You’ve now answered the question “What is Signal app” and you know what’s unique about it. Whether for business or personal reasons, if you want absolute privacy when it comes to communication and personal information, Signal may be a better choice for you and your friends or co-workers.

Ting Mobile cares about privacy as well

At Ting Mobile, we’re extremely serious about protecting your personal information. Our technical and support teams are extensively trained in best security practices, and our policies ensure that your data will not be sold or shared with unauthorized third parties. Combined with our low-cost plans, coast-to-coast coverage and no-contract policy, Ting Mobile is a mobile solution that guarantees you peace of mind.

See if your phone can come to Ting Mobile!