WhatsApp begins to lose users, after forcing them to hand over their private data

whatsapp telegram signal

WhatsApp rivals, Telegram and Signal, have witnessed a sudden surge in downloads and migration from the Facebook owned instant messaging app following a change of privacy policy that raised eyebrows across the world.

According to data by U.S.-based data analytics firm Sensor Tower, Signal recorded more than 100,000 new users across both Apple and Google app stores in merely two days following the announcement.

The secure instant messaging app received an indirect marketing boost and vote of confidence when Tesla and SpaceX CEO, Elon Musk, endorsed usage the app on his official Twitter account, with Twitter head Jack Dorsey following suit.

In parallel, instant messaging app Telegram also saw a spike in downloads, marking a whopping 2.2 million downloads during the same time, Sensor Tower highlighted.

WhatsApp, which uses Signal’s encryption technology, announced last week that it will be rolling out a new controversial privacy policy update that would see the company share private user data with Facebook and its subsidiaries.

Under the terms of the new policy, Facebook will be able to collect users’ data from the app such as their phone number, email address, contacts, location, device ID, user ID, advertising data, purchase history, product interaction, payment info, crash, performance, and other diagnostic data, customer support, and metadata.

Users will have until February 8, 2021 to accept the new terms of service or will lose their account permanently.

Senor Tower reported that new installs of WhatsApp fell by 11 percent in the first week of 2021 compared with the previous week; however, that still amounted to an estimated 10.5 million downloads globally.

Many privacy activists around the world have questioned and slammed Facebook Inc.’s decision, including Telegram’s founder and CEO Pavel Durov himself; he highlighted that the flight of users from WhatsApp to Telegram comes as no surprise since it has already been happening for a few years, and has currently accelerated.

At about 500 million users and growing, Telegram has become a major problem for the Facebook corporation.

According to Durov, Facebook has an entire department devoted to figuring out why Telegram is so popular. “Imagine dozens of employees working on just that full-time. I am happy to save Facebook tens of millions of dollars and give away our secret for free: respect your users,” he said in a statement.

“Unable to compete with Telegram in quality and privacy, Facebook’s WhatsApp seems to have switched to covert marketing: Wikipedia editors have recently exposed multiple paid bots adding biased information into the WhatsApp Wikipedia article,” Durov claimed.

Durov claimed that the company has detected bots which spread inaccurate information about his company on social media.

The Telegram exec said that unlike Facebook, Telegram doesn’t spend any money, let alone billions of dollars, on marketing.

“We believe that people are smart enough to choose what is best for them. And, judging by the half a billion people using Telegram, this belief is justified,” he added.

Back in October, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced that the company is working to merge Messenger, Instagram, and WhatsApp in an attempt for them to become one connected interoperable system.