• Jonathan Shiek

Signal: What Is It and Why Are People Leaving WhatsApp?

WhatsApp’s recent privacy policy changes has made quite a lot of noise, as people are starting to look for alternatives to the messaging app. The one in focus is Signal, an app brought up in a tweet to you by the newly crowned “richest man in the world”, Elon Musk.

Use Signal — Elon Musk (@elonmusk) January 7, 2021

It begs a question, what makes Signal worthy of such a valuable tweet from Elon Musk? 

To those who values privacy, Signal puts that on top of its list of pros.

The main difference is how Signal handles their encryption compared to WhatsApp. Unlike WhatsApp, Signal is an independent nonprofit. Which means that instead of earning revenue using advertisements, they use donations.

Signal lets you send messages and make calls via the Internet. Signal’s USP is its focus on privacy. It supports group chats and group video calls too. Signal is open source and its code is peer-reviewed, which means that its privacy and security is regularly checked by independent experts.

Signal was created by Moxie Marlinspike, an American cryptographer. The app as we know it today is developed by the Signal Foundation and Signal Messenger. Signal Foundation was founded on January 10, 2018, and a former co-founder of WhatsApp — Brian Acton — made an initial funding of $50 million.

The Signal app is available on Android, iOS, Windows, Mac, and Linux, although you can only sign up via Android or iPhone. Once you have set up an account, you can link Signal to your iPad or your computer, and use the app even if your phone is switched off. You can download Signal via this page.

It makes complete sense for many users who care about privacy to move to Signal now. With the recent privacy policy changes by Whatsapp, it made it clear that the user’s privacy is no longer a priority.

I’ve always felt it was weird after chatting with my friend about buying a new bag, and suddenly the bag appears on my Facebook and Instagram ads.

In short, here are the list of pros and cons for Signal:


  1. Values privacy

  2. Deletes metadata automatically in photos

  3. Independent company, nonprofit

  4. Disappearing messages

  5. No automatic invites to groups

  6. Delete chats anytime

  7. Contents are kept internally in your phone


  1. Limit of 150 people in groups

  2. Not all of your friends using Signal

  3. Doesn’t work with Mac ecosystem

  4. No backups for chats

Though Signal is rather new, it has a long list of pros that might entice us to make the jump and start using it. But rest assured, as long as it is a nonprofit app, it will be my number 1 messaging app!

#ElonMusk #signal #WhatsApp

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