Why are people ditching WhatsApp?

You may have heard of a sudden outcry from WhatsApp users, and a sudden upsurge of leaving the platform. Whats the big deal? Here we discuss the controversial change which is causing millions to leave.

What is WhatsApp?

WhatsApp is a instant messaging app that was released in 2009. It utilizes the Signal Protocol for message sending and was acquired by Facebook in 2014. In 2015 it became the most popular instant messenger and has over 2 billion users as of 2020. WhatsApp slowly became the primary communication method in Latin America, India, and in parts of Europe and Asia.

Why are people leaving WhatsApp?

The Facebook Subsidary updated their privacy policy in early 2021 to reserve the right to share data it collects about you with the broader Facebook network, which includes Instagram, regardless of whether you have accounts or profiles there. WhatsApp argued the change was needed to better integrate the app to the Facebook ecosystem.

WhatsApp strong arms users

The chat app notified its 2 billion users to either accept the new privacy policy or get out. It planned to enforce the new terms by deleting any account which did not accept the change by February 8th. This change is a drastic approach and a clear attempt to capture data of the large ecosystem.

Public outcry following change

Elon Musk encouraged a switch to the competitor app Signal on his Twitter feed. Turkey Tayyip Erdogan’s Presidential Media Office declared the government would drop use of WhatsApp following the change of policy. Other privacy advocates and government associations condemned the change. As a result of the public outcry a large portion of WhatsApp users began to defect to Signal. The defect caused record registrations on Signal’s platform and overwhelmed Signal’s servers to the point of service connectivity issues.

Facebook’s plan for the data

Facebook’s primary revenue source comes from serving advertisements to its users, earning nearly $21 billion in revenue in the third quarter of 2020. While WhatsApp does not serve ads to its users, Facebook can begin to improve targeted ads on other platforms with the new data collected. This change is targeted to empower businesses which advertise on Facebook’s platforms by determining what you discuss when messaging businesses directly.

Should you leave WhatsApp?

That is up to you. It is notable that the co-founder of WhatsApp Brian Acton himself ditched the company in disagreement with Facebook’s proposed monetization plans after they acquired the platform. After Acton defected, he created The Signal Foundation, and funded the Signal App. It could be argued that if the co-founder defected to create a rival product after disagreeing with Facebook’s new practices, that maybe you should too. Choosing to leave WhatsApp could show big-tech how consumers view buying platforms just to harvest data from them. Take a moment and decide if you should switch to Signal too.

Open Source Privacy

Why you should start using Signal

In the age of constant contact, posting, uploading, and sharing, you might not think twice about what you use to directly message friends and family. A lot of us are inclined to stick with what’s already available. However, new trends in the world indicate that sticking with what you have may not be the best idea. Maybe it is time to start thinking about switching to Signal as your primary messaging app. Learn more about why people are switching from WhatsApp.

What is Signal?

Signal is an instant-messaging app available to iPhone, Android, and most desktop environments. To most, Signal has what you expect, a textbox and a send button, stickers, calls, and group chats. What is special about Signal is who made it and the reason it was made.

Signal is based off a messaging protocol called The Signal Protocol. The Signal Protocol is special because it provides a complete end-to-end encrypted connection. Signal is owned by The Signal Foundation, which is a registered non-profit charity in the United States.

Signal is full featured and supports many features available in other messengers. It has stickers, Facetime, phone calls, emojis, and group chats.

Signal app in use.
Signal app in use, Attribute:

Why should you switch?

Comparison of the data collected across three major message platforms. Credit: Reddit user u/misterdhm, by permission.
  • Completely free, and always will be
    Signal is funded by grants and donations. It is free for everyone to download and use. It has no ads, premium features or trackers.
  • End-to-end encrypted
    End-to-end encryption is important in our ever digital world because it ensures no one can snoop on your conversation. It works by encrypting every message, image, phone call, and anything else you send using a secret key only available to the sender and recipient.
    Why should you care? It is a well known fact that companies like Facebook, Google, and even your own government love to absorb as much data about your life as possible. If you send an email detailing your awkward love letter, there is a good chance Uncle Sam and Google are reading it. If you are trying to discuss sexual health with a trusted friend on FB Messenger, good chance Facebook and Uncle Sam are reading it. Privacy can only be ensured with end-to-end encryption.
  • Operated by an independent non-profit charity
    The app is ran by The Signal Foundation, an independent 501c3 nonprofit, and is not owned by any other major tech company. Most companies that offer free products are selling your information. For example, Facebook builds an entire profile which is predicted to know you better than yourself for the sole purpose of selling it to advertisers. Facebook has shareholders to pay, and as such must maximize the information it has on you to maximize its profits.
    Being a non-profit does not have an interest in profit margins, and instead focuses on their mission statement: allowing its users “To Speak Freely.”
  • Does not collect data on it’s users
    Kinda, the only data Signal collects is its user’s phone numbers. A phone number is used to register your account, everything else is encrypted and not able to be accessible. By design Signal does not have access to contacts, conversation lists, location history, or any user profile information.
  • Retains as little data as possible
    Even though the data that sits on Signal’s servers is encrypted so only the user can read it, it is setup to ensure the servers forget any data that is sent. An encrypted text can sit on a server until it is delivered to a recipient, then it is instantly deleted from the servers.
  • Does not know who is messaging who
    Signal has a unique feature called sealed sender, which encrypts who a message was sent by. All an attacker could know is that a user received a message, but not who by. Imagine a scenario where you need to message a therapist, but don’t want anyone knowing that you are seeing a therapist. This feature ensures that all anyone could ever know is that the therapist received a message, but not what the message said or who sent it, except the therapist.
  • Guaranteed to go to the right person
    Signal has a feature called Safety Numbers. Safety numbers are a unique number calculated from the keys of the sender and recipient. This unique number is nearly impossible to fake. You can optionally verify this number matches with the other party to ensure your conversation is safe and private.
  • Open source
    The Signal protocol, apps, and server code is free and open to view for everyone. This allows experts to analyze the code and detect flaws (which they have not found at the time of writing). This is an important tool to ensure the quality and security of any system.
  • Trust by the privacy community
    -Used by journalists, activists, and whistleblowers alike. It is the trusted gold-standard messaging application for privacy and security, used by millions of users.

Where to get Signal

Signal is free to download and setup at You must have a phone number to setup an account. If you support what they do and want to support true privacy and security, you can donate to them at