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This weekend’s Signal outage was terrible news for WhatsApp – here’s why

The secure messaging app Signal suffered a serious outage over the weekend, lasting more than 24 hours. However, in the grand scheme of things, it was pretty great news for the company.

You see, the company has enjoyed a deluge of new sign-ups in recent days. The simplest conclusion would be the app is receiving new custom from disillusioned WhatsApp users upset about the new privacy policy, which has raised fears over data-sharing with parent company Facebook.

In a tweet over the weekend, a Signal representative said the outage was a ‘training montage’ after millions of new sign-ups. The developer also said that capacity has now been expanded.

In a tweet from the @signalapp account, the company wrote: “Signal is back! Like an underdog going through a training montage, we’ve learned a lot since yesterday — and we did it together. Thanks to the millions of new Signal users around the world for your patience. Your capacity for understanding inspired us while we expanded capacity.”

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Now that capacity is in place, the future looks bright for the non-profit company, which provides end-to-end encrypted messaging across platforms, without all of the unfortunate data entanglements.

The tech is used for secure communication by the likes of the famed whistleblower and privacy advocate Edward Snowden. It’s also endorsed by the likes of Jack Dorsey who runs Twitter and Square.

Dorsey says: “I trust Signal because it’s well built, but more importantly, because of how it’s built: open source, peer reviewed, and funded entirely by grants and donations. A refreshing model for how critical services should be built.”

 

There are no ads and no trackers, the company says, just chat. It’s easy to see why users are flocking towards it, given the growing skepticism over WhatsApp’s commitment to user privacy under Facebook’s ownership. WhatsApp offers end-to-end encryption too, but a new privacy policy that will see some user data shared with Facebook has plenty of people spooked.

WhatsApp has delayed the implementation of the policy as it seeks to clear up ‘misinformation’ on the matter. It says: “This update does not expand our ability to share data with Facebook.”