Tech

WhatsApp privacy policy causes exodus to Signal

WhatsApp’s recent privacy policy ultimatum that gave users up to the 8th of February to agree to share their data with Facebook has caused many of its users to flee to Signal.

The fact that Signal could not keep up with requests for verification codes shows how people are reacting to WhatsApp and its new privacy policy.

For those who may not have come across Signal before, it’s a messaging app that is similar to WhatsApp. It offers end to end encryption, it had self-destructing messages long before WhatsApp rolled them out this year, Signal group chats are user-based rather than server-based meaning messages never leave your phone. This also ensures that the server can’t tell if a message was generated in a group or in a private chat. On top of that, Signal is open source, which means anyone to examine its source code under a GPLv3 licence for clients and AGPLv3 for the server.

The biggest thing of all (in this case) is that Signal doesn’t have an entity like Facebook pulling its strings. You can communicate relatively securely and without having to worry about Big Brother siphoning off your information in order to send you targetted ads.

Lastly, Signal is what WhatsApp was before the Facebook takeover, and many who prefer a (relatively) private and secure messaging service have long since abandoned WhatsApp for Signal or Telegram.

That being said, Signal may be a viable option for those abroad but not for Zimbabweans

As good as Signal is, the one thing it doesn’t have in Zim is a dedicated data bundle. This is a significant mark down for the app even though it has many upsides.

WhatsApp is also something familiar and an app that many people in the country use so… even with the new privacy policy I don’t see many people moving off it anytime soon.

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