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    Signal app beats WhatsApp, Facebook, Instagram in weekly India downloads

    Synopsis

    Signal app was downloaded 3.3 million times in the Jan. 5-11 period, compared with WhatsApp’s 1.7 million, Facebook’s 2.1 million and Instagram’s 2.3 million downloads, Sensor Tower’s data shows.

    Bengaluru: A week after encrypted messaging app WhatsApp unveiled its new policy of sharing more data with parent Facebook, rival messaging app Signal beat not only WhatsApp but also Facebook and Instagram in weekly India downloads, perhaps pointing to increasing concern over the data sharing policies of Mark Zuckerberg’s social media giant.

    While Signal was downloaded 3.3 million times in the January 5-11 period, WhatsApp saw 1.7 million downloads, Facebook 2.1 million downloads, and Instagram 2.3 million during the same period, according to app analytics firm Sensor Tower’s data.

    WhatsApp, Facebook and Instagram downloads saw a sharp fall in India during the week compared with the previous week. WhatsApp downloads fell 39% in the January 5-11 period versus a week earlier. Facebook downloads fell 19% and Instagram downloads fell 34%.

    In comparison, Signal downloads rose 23471% and Telegram downloads rose 18%. India is the largest market for WhatsApp and Facebook while Instagram is getting there, the company had said during its India event last month.

    However, WhatsApp (400 million), Facebook (346 million) and Instagram (120 million) have far larger user bases in India, than Signal, say market trackers. There’s no separate data for total Signal installs in India. App Annie estimates 20 million monthly active users for Signal worldwide as of December end. WhatsApp data is from the platform. Facebook and Instagram data is from Statista.

    “While we do not release any such data as per company policy, we see India as the worldwide leader that has catalyzed the global trend of switching over to Signal as their day to day messenger,” said Aruna Harder, Chief Operating Officer of Signal Messenger.

    She added that Signal is growing exponentially, however, unlike any other popular messaging apps, it does not include trackers, ads, or analytics in its software at all, which often leads to drastic underreporting of its numbers by "app intelligence" firms.

    Facebook and Instagram declined to comment. There was no response from WhatsApp till press time.

    "There is definitely an uptick in downloads for private messengers, which points to a change in how people view their personal data and privacy, but that doesn't mean users will also stop using apps like WhatsApp. It'll be interesting to see whether this latest trend sticks, or users revert back to what they know," said Craig Chapple, Mobile Insights Strategist, EMEA at Sensor Tower.

    The fall in numbers come after many users and corporate leaders have started to prefer Signal and Telegram over WhatsApp due to its revised privacy policy, which was unveiled last week, that enables the encrypted messaging app to share significantly more commercial user data and metadata with Facebook, which can use user data such as their shopping activity to target ads and customise content.

    The new privacy policy has sparked a debate on Facebook’s power over individual data, its strategy to combine data across platforms on its users, and the implications of such actions on personal privacy, security and market competition.

    Telegram’s CEO and Founder Pavel Durov said in a blogpost that the app has crossed 500 million monthly active users globally, and people no longer want to exchange their privacy for free services. They no longer want to be held hostage by tech monopolies that seem to think they can get away with anything as long as their apps have a critical mass of users, he wrote.

    "Facebook's modus operandi of rolling out policies, let the brouhaha pass and wait for users to forget what has happened relying on network effects. Repated over and over again, the methodology will lose its effectiveness," said Mishi Choudhary, Legal Director at Software Freedom Law Centre, New York.

    1 Comment on this Story

    vajji satyanarayana1 day ago
    application like many existing will proliferate. each country will have its own applications like signal, cisco webex, WhatsApp, etc. it is ultimately who tops and races,ahead of all is a matter of time
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