Instant messaging application, Signal is observing an influx of new users, so much so that the platform is having a hard time keeping up with the sign-up stages.
Users see delays in phone number verifications when trying to set up new accounts across multiple cell providers. "Not to sound like a broken record (about broken records), but we're aware of the registration delays while creating a new account. Carriers are making adjustments on their side to keep delivering verification codes as quickly as possible," said Signal in a tweet.
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.— Signal (@signalapp) January 7, 2021
Who is responsible for these many new users flocking towards this app, you ask? The culprits are pretty well-known. Signal competitor WhatsApp and the other is Tesla CEO, Elon Musk.
What did these two ever do to cause such a change in consumer behavior? We'll have to explain in quite some detail, so hang tight and keep reading.
What's happened is that the instant messaging app, WhatsApp tweaks policy, introduces WhatsApp’s updated terms of service and privacy policies. These terms are pretty problematic, and should the users not agree to them by February 8th; they'll lose access to the application.
Instead, the policy states that WhatsApp will have the rights to share user information with Facebook; this will include the phone number, profile name, picture, address book, and more.
"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, customize, support, and market our Services and their offerings," says the new policy. Naturally, this has caused a backlash, which is constantly growing. Users are boycotting WhatsApp and looking at other alternatives such as Signal.
On January 7th, 2021, Tesla CEO Elon Musk took to Twitter to post "Use Signal." When users were already looking towards alternatives, Musk's tweet fuelled the fire and users flocked to Signal surging stocks, an encrypted instant messaging app owned by a non-profit organization called Signal Foundation.
Use Signal— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) January 7, 2021
While some people instantly understood Musk meant the messaging app, others took it the wrong way.
In the days that followed the tweet, shares of an unrelated company known as Signal Advance, surged 527% and then 91%, increasing from just 60 cents to $7.19. This is known as the "mixed Signal" phenomenon. To clear up the misunderstanding, Signal took to Twitter and said "It's understandable that people want to invest in Signal's record growth, but this isn't us. We're an independent 501c3 and our only investment is in your privacy."
Is this what stock analysts mean when they say that the market is giving mixed Signals?— Signal (@signalapp) January 8, 2021
It's understandable that people want to invest in Signal's record growth, but this isn't us. We're an independent 501c3 and our only investment is in your privacy. pic.twitter.com/9EgMUZiEZf
What can this controversy mean for WhatsApp's future?
This is a question that doesn't have a simple answer. The platform issued a lengthy statement as a response to clarify that the new policy doesn't change the app's data-sharing practices with Facebook.
It further elaborated that the update will not change WhatsApp's data-sharing practices with Facebook. "It does not impact how people communicate privately with friends or family wherever they are in the world. WhatsApp remains deeply committed to protecting people's privacy. We are communicating directly with users through WhatsApp about these changes so they have time to review the new policy over the course of the next month."
Maybe things aren't as bad as they seem? We'll only find out with time.
So, are you planning to switch to Signal, or are you one of the few users who'll remain loyal to WhatsApp? Let us know your thoughts on our Facebook page today.
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