Signal, an encrypted messaging app, saw a massive influx of new downloads this week as users looking for more privacy flee WhatsApp and other social networks, leaving the app causing technical trouble on Friday.
In this photo illustration, the logos of the social media applications are Signal and WhatsApp … [+]
Photo illustration by Chesnot / Getty Images
With the increasing traffic, the news on Signal Friday morning was slow or not at all.
Signal said in a statement it “has been adding new servers and additional capacity at a record pace every day this week, but has exceeded even our most optimistic predictions” today.
The Signal is encrypted throughout, which means that no one except the sender and recipient, not even Signal, has access to the content in the users’ messages.
Signal’s jump to the top of the App Store charts is due in part to unsubstantiated rumors that WhatsApp will share users’ messages with the parent company’s Facebook.
At the same time, the demise of the conservative social media app Parler, along with the suspension of President Donald Trump’s social media accounts, has raised concerns about big tech, and conservatives are looking for more private communication venues that Apple is not involved in. Google or other social media company.
Signal was started in 2013 by security researcher Matthew Rosenfield using the pen name Moxie Marlinspike. The app has been popular with journalists and activists who want to avoid prying eyes for years. However, this is the first time it has received so much recognition. The app became a nonprofit in 2018 with the help of WhatsApp founder Brian Acton, who is known to quit Facebook because he opposed the company’s push to monetize WhatsApp. The signal was particularly supported by Jack Dorsey, Elon Musk and Edward Snowden.
What to look for
While Signal’s end-to-end encryption has been praised by privacy professionals, law enforcement warns that extremist groups and terrorists can use encrypted messages to communicate, which can hinder the investigation of such activity. Right-wing extremists, shunned by popular social apps this week, are already flocking to other encrypted apps like Telegram, which has more social features.