WhatsApp Competitors Signal, Telegram See Massive Download Surge

WhatsApp’s rivals got a massive boost after the messaging app announced on Wednesday that it would make users share some personal data with its parent company, Facebook.

Data from app-analytics firm Sensor Tower shows Signal, a rival encrypted messaging service, saw an enormous surge in user numbers following WhatsApp’s announcement.

“From January 6 to January 10, Signal saw approximately 7.5 million installs globally from across the App Store and Google Play,” a Sensor Tower representative told Insider.

About 810,000 users globally installed Signal on Sunday, nearly 18-fold compared with the download numbers on Jan. 6, the day WhatsApp updated its privacy terms, according to data from research firm Apptopia.

The encrypted-messaging service Telegram saw even more users flock to its service. In the same time period, it amassed 9 million new users, up 91 percent from the previous week.

For both Signal and Telegram, the biggest growth market was India. Signal saw 2.3 million installs in India — more than 30 percent of its total new installs. India accounted for 1.5 million of Telegram’s installs, or 16 percent of all installs.

WhatsApp told users they would have to agree to let Facebook and its subsidiaries collect WhatsApp data — including phone numbers and locations — before February 8 or lose access to the app. WhatsApp has since clarified that this affects users only outside the European Union and the UK and said that the change “does not affect the privacy of your messages with friends or family in any way.”

WhatsApp has scrambled to try to allay public concerns about its app’s privacy since Wednesday. “We want to address some rumors and be 100% clear we continue to protect your private messages with end-to-end encryption,” the company said in a statement on Monday.

“We want to be clear that the policy update does not affect the privacy of your messages with friends or family in any way. Instead, this update includes changes related to messaging a business on WhatsApp, which is optional, and provides further transparency about how we collect and use data,” WhatsApp added in an FAQ on its website.