Brian Acton is crossing the track again with Facebook.With over a decade of building and operating WhatsApp, the company’s co-founder has competed for the first time and sold his instant messaging app to social leaders. Just a few years ago, he parted ways with a company that made him a billionaire through a split in messaging and privacy.
Now, Acton says the ongoing outrage over what Facebook has done with the messaging service he helped build is driving people towards his latest project ̵1; Signal Acton, who serves as the company’s executive chairman. The holding of the privacy-conscious messaging app told TechCrunch in an interview that Signal’s user base has “exploded” in the past few weeks.
“The smallest events drive the biggest results,” Acton said in the video call. “We are also excited that we are having conversations about online privacy and digital security, and people are turning to it. Signal to answer those questions “
“It’s a great opportunity for Signal to shine and give people choice and choice. It was a slow burn for three years, then a big explosion. Right now the rocket is going, ”he said.
The incident Acton cited is the latest change in the data-sharing policy exposed by WhatsApp, an app serving more than 2 billion users worldwide.
Through an in-app notification, WhatsApp has asked users in recent days to accept the new terms and conditions giving consent to share personal data with Facebook.Users are required to accept these terms within a day. On February 8, if you want to continue using the app, the notification
Acton said WhatsApp is fighting a mix of monetization features while still protecting people’s privacy, and new “sophisticated policies” have forced WhatsApp and the media to scramble for explanations and “everyone is confused.” “
Acton did not disclose the number of Signal users it has accumulated in the past few weeks. But, he said, the app currently ranks on the App Store in 40 countries and on the Google Play Store in 18 countries (Signal isn’t the only app users have explored in recent days as their new home, Telegram said. As of noon Tuesday, more than 25 million users joined the platform in the past 72 hours.The app now has more than 525 million monthly active users.)
According to App Annie, a mobile insights firm, data shared by industry executives with TechCrunch, Signal had roughly 20 million monthly active users worldwide as of the end of December 2020, according to Sensor Tower data. It was downloaded more than 7.5 million times between January 6 and January 10.
Since its inception in 2018, Signal has promised not to sell user data and won’t show ads to users.In 2018, Acton invested $ 50 million in Signal Foundation, a check he says keeps the ball rolling. But how do the messaging apps plan to float in the future?
Signal today also relies on donations to do business, and more users mean more donors, he said. “If Signal reaches a billion users, that is billions of donors. All we have to do is get you excited about Signal that you want to give us 1 dollar or 50 rupees. The idea is we want to accept that. The only way to receive donations is to create creative and delightful products. That’s a better relationship in my opinion, ”he said.
Acton said the model works for businesses, allowing smaller employees under 50 between economical spending and big investments of the Signal Foundation still having money in the bank.
Signal Foundation had previously said Messenger was the first product, and, like Mozilla and the Wikimedia Foundation, it intends to expand to other categories, Acton said, in the coming years the team will answer the call it wants to work on. With email and storage products? But he said the focus remains on the messaging app at present.
Although Acton publicly urged users to leave Facebook, in our conversation he did not advise people to stop using WhatsApp.In contrast, Acton said he envisions people relying on Signal in family conversations. And close friends and use WhatsApp for other chats. “I have no desire to do all the things WhatsApp does, my wish is for people to have a choice,” he said. You have no choice It is not strictly a winner in all situations. “
One of the criticisms that WhatsApp often receives is that it is not enough to control the spread of false information on the platform, which results in real-life casualties.I asked Acton about Signal, which protects user conversations. With end-to-end encryption, what if people start using their apps for similar purposes? Acton says it’s a tough challenge, and while technology and platforms share their own responsibilities, Acton says. But it can do a lot, especially when you are unable to view the content of the conversation.
“You should teach your children good digital responsibility. Do not use the information you received immediately. Understand its origins Understand who is the authoritative source. In society it teaches all its members how it works, ”he said, pointing to the early days of the Internet when email scams were pandering and over time and education, people learned how to identify them.