Facebook’s WhatsApp Suffers Dip in Downloads Over Privacy Concerns

WASHINGTON, DC - OCTOBER 23: With an image of himself on a screen in the background, Facebook co-founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg testifies before the House Financial Services Committee in the Rayburn House Office Building on Capitol Hill October 23, 2019 in Washington, DC. Zuckerberg testified about Facebook's proposed cryptocurrency …
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Facebook’s WhatsApp messaging app has suffered a major drop in new downloads as many users turn to private messaging apps Signal and Telegram following changes to WhatsApp’s terms of service.

The Independent reports that the messaging service WhatsApp has seen a major drop in new downloads following a change to the company’s terms of service with many users turning to privacy-focused messaging services such as Signal and Telegram.

WhatsApp downloads fell by more than 2 million between January 5 and 12 compared to the previous week, falling to 10.6 million. In comparison, Signal saw 17.8 million downloads while Telegram saw 15.7 million during the same time period, according to data from the app analytics firm Sensor Tower.

A recent pop-up message sent to WhatsApp’s 2 billion users asked them to accept the Terms of Service for the app’s new privacy policy before the 8th of February or they may lose access to the app. Users outside of the U.K. and Europe are now subject to a data-sharing agreement between WhatsApp and Facebook which will see private user details such as phone number, IP address, and browser information shared with the tech giant.

The mass user exodus panicked Facebook, prompting the company to take out full-page adverts in India’s newspapers asking users not to leave. In a message appearing on the front page of the Indian Express and the Hindu, as well as in eight other newspapers, WhatsApp stated:

WhatsApp respects and protects your privacy.

WhatsApp cannot see your private messages or hear your calls, and neither can Facebook: Every private message, photo, video, voice message, and document you send to your friends, family, and co-workers in one-on-one or group chats is protected by end-to-end encryption. It stays between you.

The massive user growth for Telegram led to the app’s founder calling it the “largest digital migration in human history.”

Lucas Nolan is a reporter for Breitbart News covering issues of free speech and online censorship. Follow him on Twitter @LucasNolan or contact via secure email at the address lucasnolan@protonmail.com

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