Signal, Telegram sees demand surge amid new WhatsApp policy update

By Rahul Vaimal, Associate Editor
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Cross-platform encrypted messaging services Signal and Telegram are witnessing a sudden rise in demand as a result of the newly introduced privacy policy update from WhatsApp.

WhatsApp, which uses Signal’s encryption technology, recently set out new terms, asking users to agree to let user data, including their phone number and location, be collected by Facebook and its subsidiaries.

Some privacy activists questioned the “accept our data grab or get out” move on Twitter, and suggested users to switch to applications like Signal and Telegram.

The popularity of Signal soared further after it was promoted by Elon Musk, who has one of Twitter’s most-followed accounts and by the microblogging site’s top boss Jack Dorsey.

According to US-based data analytics firm Sensor Tower, in the last two days, more than 100,000 users have installed Signal via Apple and Google app stores, while Telegram has obtained almost 2.2 million downloads.

“New installs of WhatsApp fell 11 percent in the first seven days of 2021 compared with the prior week, but that still amounted to an estimated 10.5 million downloads globally”, said Sensor Tower.

The fine print suggested that data sharing with Facebook will become mandatory, but WhatsApp has now clarified that user privacy policies remain unchanged. The new privacy policy update is for only business accounts, social media app added.


Signal is an open-source messaging app that is privacy focused and is widely used by journalists, security experts, and academics across the globe. Signal uses telephone numbers as identifiers and secures all communications to other Signal users with end-to-end encryption. The apps include mechanisms by which users can independently verify the identity of their contacts and the integrity of the data channel.


Telegram is a freeware, cross-platform, cloud-based instant messaging, video calling, and VoIP (Voice Over Internet Protocol) service. Telegram provides end-to-end encrypted calls and optional end-to-end encrypted “secret” chats between two online users on smartphone clients, whereas cloud chats use client-server or server-client encryption. Users can send text and voice messages, animated stickers, make voice and video calls, and share an unlimited number of images, documents (2GB per file), user locations, contacts, and music.