• Sanjay Manival Raju

Signal, leading the messenger revolution!

Updated: Jan 21

For over a decade now, WhatsApp has remained an online messaging giant. It was a messenger that disrupted the online messaging sector at 5G speeds. Apart from being a seamless communication channel, it allowed users to emote in diverse ways and created the illusion of closeness by real time activity features. While WhatsApp signaled users to switch from traditional messaging, it now seems to be a victim of a revolution led by Signal.

Signal is a non-profit messaging application supported by grants and donations. The application mirrors the WhatsApp interface and is committed to respect a user’s privacy. Ostensibly, unlike WhatsApp that captured and fed data to “advertising models”, Signal does not have an agenda. If any, it is only to provide users a secure platform.

This proposition of Signal began to poach WhatsApp users particularly when the latter updated their privacy policy. According to WhatsApp’s new policy, the application would begin collecting user data such as device information, location, name & contacts to share with Facebook’s affiliates. The sudden change in policy perturbed users and thus, began the exodus. Now, with the world of smartphones, mobile applications, wireless networks, and the internet of course, data is being shared at every minute’s interaction. If an average user is privy to that, then why the revolution with WhatsApp alone?

Data science and data driven decision making has become extremely prevalent. Large volumes of data are collected and analyzed by enterprises to better manage their value chains. In such an event, data has proved to be amongst the most valued entities. Our perpetual interaction in the digital network and use of essential webpages providing free access leaves behind a trail of data most often captured by the search engines themselves. Any business sector sustains over a certain form of transaction for every service or product rendered. That aligns with the idea that “if you are not paying for the product, you are the product”. At this stage, it is practically impossible to defy or “fully” escape this model unless users across the internet are willing to pay for “every” service.

WhatsApp is merely a node in this sizeable network of data capture. In the recent years, WhatsApp’s image has been blemished by the array of misinformation disseminated through its channels. Evidently, it has also been plagued by the persona of Facebook, that is now viewed as a low-grade social networking platform aggressively catering to its advertisers.

The truth is, migration from WhatsApp was imminent- users fatigued by WhatsApp were looking for a newer experience, provided a fitting alternative showed up. The messenger monopoly was bound to be disrupted and Signal’s value of privacy was a trigger. Users no longer want to partake in its adversities.

When consumers witness a saturated space and are presented with several product options, they are in a passive search for distinctiveness. Signal simply ended that search.

As a user, I do not feel insecure about my usage and/or generic data being collected if it is done in moderation and used for “development” purposes. I would want to believe that the reputed platforms are working towards the same.

Personally, I switched for a refreshing experience, and the bandit cat stickers.

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