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What to know about Signal — WhatsApp’s rival endorsed by Elon Musk, Jack Dorsey

Signal, an instant messaging application like WhatsApp or Telegram, has continued to dominate talks on social media platforms.


The spotlight beamed on the app on Thursday after Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla, who doubles as the world’s richest man, recommended it for people.

“Use Signal,” he had written in a terse post, which has garnered nearly 50,000 retweets, 15,000 comments and over 310,000 likes as of the time this report was filed.

Use Signal

—Elon Musk (@elonmusk) January 7, 2021

The post elicited more reactions and pulled weight when Jack Dorsey, Twitter CEO, shared it and thereafter reiterated his support for the app in a follow-up post.

❤️ pic.twitter.com/uewq6oP7rT

—jack (@jack) January 10, 2021

The app saw a surge in downloads after WhatsApp’s infamous terms of service started showing up on people’s notifications. It has so far secured over 10 million downloads and 615,000 reviews on Google play store.

Shortly after Musk’s endorsement, Signal tweeted that it was working to handle the surge of new users.

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


TheCable Lifestyle examines basic things to know about the app which has continued to pull the strings across several quarters.

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What is Signal?

Signal is a typical one-tap install app which works like other usual text messaging app. It’s an open-source initiative which is provided for free of charge by Signal Foundation, a non-profit organisation.

Signal allows users to send end-to-end encrypted group, text, picture as well as audio and video messages. The messaging app also allows encrypted audio and video calls.

Why the buzz over Signal?

Discussions about Signal in recent times have largely been about its ability to protect the privacy of users.

This is largely not unconnected to the dust trailing a new policy introduced by WhatsApp which many believe would breach people’s privacy.

Some people have already started ditching WhatsApp amid the ensuing drama while Signal has become the go-to-messaging app for privacy-savvy individuals.

In a post on its Twitter page, Signal called out Facebook for risking people’s privacy for ads.

“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. P.S. There will never be ads in Signal, because your data belongs in your hands not ours,” it wrote.

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.

P.S. There will never be ads in Signal, because your data belongs in your hands not ours. pic.twitter.com/waVPcl4wHe

—Signal (@signalapp) January 10, 2021

Features of Signal

Signal can be used across several platforms including Android, iOS, iPad, Mac, Windows and Linux.

It has end-to-end encryption based on the Signal protocol, built by Moxie Marlinspike, an American cryptographer Moxie, who is also the CEO of Signal. The implication of this is that no third-party or even Signal can read users’ messages.

Similarly, the app has a screen lock feature while users can also set a pin to the Signal account to ensure the safety of privacy. There is also a feature called message requests which gives users the option to block, delete, or accept messages from an unknown person.

In the same vein, the app has an incognito keyboard option, which prevents your keyboard from saving what you are typing. Other features include fingerprint lock, read receipts, location sharing, relay calls, archive chats, and more.

How to download Signal app

Signal app can be downloaded from Apple app store or Google play store.

This can be done using the following steps:

Download and install Signal Private Messenger from Apple store or Google play Store
iPhone users should tap on ‘Get’ to download the app
Select Install. iPhone users may be required to enter Apple ID credentials
Tap on open
Enter your phone number
iPhone users will be required to select ‘Activate This Device’
You will be required to enter a six-digit code that the app will send you via SMS
Once you verify the code, tap on Submit. Users can manually verify the code or allow Signal to copy it directly
Signal will then request permission to send you notifications. Tap on “allow”
You will be required to set your profile picture and name. This name will be shown to your contacts on the app
Tap on save or skip as per your requirement. Signal will require the sender as well as the receiver to download the app
Several users have taken to Twitter to react to the introduction of Signal with some comparing it with Facebook and WhatsApp.

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