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Updated January 8th, 2021 at 15:29 IST

What is the Signal App and why is Elon Musk recommending it? Find out

Tesla CEO Elon Musk asked followers to ‘Use Signal’ after WhatsApp users have to agree to let Facebook and its subsidiaries collect their personal information.

Disha Kandpal
what is the signal app
| Image:self
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Recently a new messaging service app called Signal has been going viral on the internet. According to its official website, Signal is a cross-platform encrypted messaging service developed by the Signal Foundation and Signal Messenger LLC. Like WhatsApp, the Signal app uses the Internet to send one-to-one and group messages, which can include files, voice notes, images and videos. It can also be used to make one-to-one and group voice and video calls. The android version of this app can optionally function as an SMS app. Read on to learn more about this app.

Read | Wave of new 'Signal' signups as Elon Musk asks followers to switch from WhatsApp

What is Signal App?

For all those who are wondering whether this brand new app is free? Yes, the Signal app is in fact free. It is actually, an open-source software application for Android, iOS, and Desktop that employs end-to-end encryption. Although Signal uses telephone numbers as contacts, encrypted calls and messages actually use your data connection.

Therefore to be able to use it, both parties to the conversation must have Internet access on their mobile devices. As mentioned earlier, on Android, Signal can replace your default text messaging application, so within Signal it is still possible to send unencrypted SMS messages. Unencrypted SMS messages go through your mobile plan and may incur fees as set by your plan.

Read | Elon Musk overtakes Amazon's Jeff Bezos to become world's richest person

Who is the Signal app owner?

According to its website, the non-profit Signal Foundation launched this app in February 2018 with initial funding of $50 million from Brian Acton. Acton an American Internet Entrepreneur, who was formerly employed at Yahoo and is the co-founder of (with Jan Koum) WhatsApp. According to Forbes (2020), Acton is the 836th-richest person in the world, with a net worth of $2.5 billion.

Read | Tesla makes record deliveries in 2020, just 450 units shy of Elon Musk's target

Is Signal App safe?

The concerns of many WhatsApp users were first raised when Facebook acquired the messaging platform, for loads and loads of money. A lot of people wondered why would a company such as Facebook pay so much money to acquire a company such as WhatsApp. Many feared that WhatsApp had collected a lot of user data, and that’s precious to the Gollum that is Facebook.

A report in Forbes reveals that Signal appears to be safer than WhatsApp, for a number of reasons, one of them being that it has Screen Security. Users can go to privacy settings and enable Screen Security, which will essentially block other apps on your phone, or yourself, from taking screenshots of your chats on Signal. This way, the user can be sure that even if there’s an app which is keeping tabs on your activities on your phone, it can’t capture what’s happening inside your Signal app. On its website, Signal also promises that there won’t be any ads, at least for now. WhatsApp had similar promises in the beginning, but that changed after Facebook acquired it.

Even Elon Musk recommends Signal app

Tesla CEO Elon Musk has suggested that users should switch to the Signal app in a tweet, directed against WhatsApp. The billionaire's tweet comes after WhatsApp announced a revision to its privacy policy signalling further integration with Facebook over data sharing. Interestingly, WhatsApp claims to use the same end-to-end encryption protocol as Signal. 

Read | Elon Musk believes future Mars economy is going to be based on cryptocurrencies

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Published January 8th, 2021 at 15:29 IST

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