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Telegram and Signal Saw Nearly 1,200% Growth Ahead of WhatsApp's New Privacy Policy Deadline

Telegram and Signal Saw Nearly 1,200% Growth Ahead of WhatsApp's New Privacy Policy Deadline

Interestingly, WhatsApp installs declined around the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic globally, that is, even before the new rules were announced.

WhatsApp’s updated Terms of Service is now in live, months after facing severe backlash from users and even governments around the world. The new policy that came into being on May 15, dictates that users who have not opted to follow the company’s updated rules can still access the messaging platform but with limitations. Meanwhile, WhatsApp rivals like Signal and Telegram continue to take a jab at the Facebook-owned company over the new terms of service. Both platforms had also seen a surge in downloads as many are now promoting WhatsApp alternatives. According to Sensor Tower data, these WhatsApp rivals witnessed nearly 1,200 percent growth ahead of the privacy policy deadline. The report adds that Telegram’s downloads on Android and iOS grew 98 percent year-over-year (YoY) to more than 161 million, while Signal saw its first-time downloads surge 1,192 percent YoY to 64.6 million between January to April 2021.

Data also shows that both Telegram and Signal peaked installs in January 2021, and their download velocity has since slowed. In January, Telegram reached 63.5 million downloads, up 283 percent YoY from 16.6 million, and Signal’s installs in the month grew 5,001 percent YoY to 50.6 million, from 992,000 in January 2020. Both platforms pride themselves on offering end-to-end encryption on chats (though E2E is not on by default on Telegram) with other user-friendly features. Telegram even introduced a Clubhouse inspired Voice Chats 2.0, among other notable features for Android and iOS users.

Image: Sensor Tower

Interestingly, WhatsApp installs declined around the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic globally, that is, even before the new rules were announced. In April 2020, it saw approximately 55.2 million installs globally, down 28 percent month-on-month from 76.5 million in March. Nonetheless, WhatsApp’s downloads continue to be far greater than both Telegram and Signal. However, the situation is still developing and made all the more complex by shifting user behaviour. As privacy laws around the globe gain momentum, it will be interesting to see how Facebook will retain its audiences.

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