Comparatively, Signal and Telegram had 24,000 and 1.3 million downloads respectively between January 1 and January 5. With the new downloads, Signal grew by 9,483% while Telegram grew by 15%.
Also, WhatsApp’s downloads fell by 35% over the January 6 to January 10 time period with 1.3 million new downloads. Between January 1 to January 5, WhatsApp had clocked 2 million new downloads.
Lifetime downloads (all downloads since the app was launched in 2014) for Signal in India stands at 3.9 million and it is 151.5 million for Telegram. On the other hand, for WhatsApp is a whopping 1.4 billion downloads over the same period.
Signal and Telegram are being considered as viable replacements for WhatsApp with Elon Musk being one of the first to tweet that people should shift to Signal.
Use Signal— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) January 7, 2021
Following Musk’s tweet, which went out to all his 42 million followers, Signal tweeted to say that Verification codes were delayed across several providers because so many new people were trying to join.
Verification codes are currently delayed across several providers because so many new people are trying to join Signal right now (we can barely register our excitement). We are working with carriers to resolve this as quickly as possible. Hang in there.— Signal (@signalapp) January 7, 2021
In India, PayTM’s Vijay Shekhar Sharma also asked followers to pick Signal over WhatsApp as he criticised the latter on Twitter.
They say, market has power. We are the largest market.— Vijay Shekhar Sharma (@vijayshekhar) January 11, 2021
Here in India WhatsApp / Facebook are abusing their monopoly & taking away millions of users' privacy for granted.
We should move on to @signalapp NOW.
It is upto us to become victim or reject such moves. https://t.co/iCmKoyLc5x
WhatsApp recently updated its terms of service on January 6 informing users that information from all interactions with businesses on WhatsApp will be shared with Facebook and companies it owns and the businesses themselves. WhatsApp has mentioned that this does not apply to personal chats, but people are clearly not convinced.
Signal and Telegram have been cashing in on this opportunity with Signal tweeting -
Facebook is probably more comfortable selling ads than buying them, but they'll do what they have to do in order to be the top result when some people search for 'Signal' in the App Store.— Signal (@signalapp) January 10, 2021
P.S. There will never be ads in Signal, because your data belongs in your hands not ours. pic.twitter.com/waVPcl4wHe
Telegram founder Pavel Durov took to his own channel on the platform to promise that the Telegram will never collect users’ private data or profile them for ad targeting. Durov added that if Telegram ever chose to advertise, it would do so through one-to-many channels, which do not require specific user profiling.