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Telegram and Signal see surge in downloads after WhatsApp privacy deadline

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As WhatsApp seems determined to go ahead with its new privacy policy, its rivals Signal and Telegram see an unprecedented surge in downloads.

Telegram and Signal see surge in downloads after WhatsApp privacy deadline
WhatsApp rivals Telegram and Signal have seen a significant increase in the download of its apps after the Facebook-owned mobile messaging platform announced in January that users would have to accept its new privacy policy.
The United States tech giant, however, has postponed the May 15 deadline for adopting the new privacy policy, which allows WhatsApp to share data with its parent company Facebook.
According to Sensor Tower Store Intelligence data, Telegram installs climbed 98 percent year-over-year (YoY) to more than 161 million, while Signal’s first-time downloads surged 1,192 percent YoY to 64.6 million from January to April.
On the other hand, global installs of WhatsApp’s mobile app declined 43 percent YoY in the corresponding period, even as it is still ahead of its competitors, reaching approximately 172.3 million downloads.
Also, Telegram and Signal’s download velocity has slowed since January. In January, Telegram reached 63.5 million downloads, however, its installs declined month-over-month (MoM), with a slight three percent dip YoY in April. Last month, it hit 26.2 million downloads against nearly 27 million in the corresponding period in 2020.
Meanwhile, Signal’s installs in January grew 5,001 percent YoY to 50.6 million, from 992,000 in January 2020. In February, its installs fell 86 percent MoM to just over seven million, while the decline continued in March and April as well. But Signal is experiencing consistent YoY growth each month. In April, it saw 2.8 million downloads globally, more than double the 1.3 million in April 2020.
The mobile app’s first-time installs, however, saw a decline in April 2020, just after the COVID-19 pandemic hit the world, even before the backlash against WhatsApp for its mandatory privacy policy in January 2021. It saw approximately 55.2 million installs globally, down 28 percent MoM from 76.5 million in March.
Sensor Tower attributes it to the need to communicate with others through desktop or web versions of apps like WhatsApp.
Meanwhile, the Indian government on May 20 asked WhatsApp to withdraw its new privacy policy within seven days by May 25.
The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY), in a letter to WhatsApp, warned that there are "various options" available to it under Indian law to take action against it.
MeitY in its letter mentioned that the postponement of WhatsApp’s revised policy, which earlier had a deadline of May 15, does not absolve the company from respecting legal and compliance issues surrounding privacy, data security, and user’s choice.
 

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