Why is everyone installing Signal?
Everyone seems to be installing the Signal app, but what does that mean? What is it, and why are people switching to it? Should you install it as well? We'll break it down for you.
WhatsApp & Facebook
As many users are skeptical of Facebook's dismal approach towards user privacy and more conscious about personal data and security, the move caused a gigantic ripple through WhatsApp's user base as users scrambled to find new alternatives to the messaging app.
Enter Elon Musk
Right around this time, tech mogul Elon Musk issued a simple, straightforward tweet that many took to be the answer to the WhatsApp debacle:
This tweet was then retweeted by Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey, furthering its credibility amongst the tech savvy and privacy conscious. Two of the internet's heaviest hitters were now encouraging people to start using Signal as their personal messaging app of choice.
There are three key features of Signal that make it a much more palatable option for the security conscious:
1.) It's an open source app, which means the code that powers the app can be viewed by anyone and everyone. So any nefarious, privacy-invading lines of code would be quickly discovered and reported to the security/privacy community for scrutiny. With proprietary apps like Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp, the code that powers those apps is a black box, so any privacy-invading code or behind-the-scenes features that harvest your personal data can't be discovered, analyzed, and examined in the open.
2.) It's owned by a non-profit organization. By definition, an app that's owned by a non-profit, like WordPress or Wikipedia, has a different set of goals and strategies guiding its development. Apps owned by non-profits tend to value freedom, free expression, and privacy above profits, IPOs, and margins.
3.) It uses end-to-end encryption. End-to-end encryption means that when you send a message to your friend using Signal, the message is scrambled as soon as you press send, and only unscrambled once it reaches you friend's device. No one, not Apple or Google, or your broadband provider, or Signal themselves, can decipher your message and read it. This is why Signal has become the recommended messaging app of the European Commission: End-to-end encryption means your message content can't be read, parsed, and harvested by companies for ad targeting. So if you send a message to your friend saying you really want a brand new TV, you won't start seeing ads for TVs across the internet.
Should I use Signal?
You should definitely install it. Whether you should use it depends on how many people that you talk to every day on messaging apps are on Signal. If your friends, family, and colleagues are all on it, then by all means use it as your primary messaging service. If you are still beholden to Facebook and Google for various messaging needs, you can still have it on your device ready to go if it becomes more popular amongst people you communicate with on a day-to-day basis.
At Apptitude, we incorporate end-to-end encryption in every messaging feature we include in our apps. So your data is always secure, safe, and private. If you would like to talk to us about building a secure messaging app feature for your business, by all means get in touch!
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