Social & Digital Update: The Lowdown On Signal

Privacy and data have been hot topics in digital for years now, but rarely do we see a company come out and state categorically that it doesn’t want, care or own your data. That is, until Signal came along.

What is Signal?

Signal is a secure encrypted messaging app. Total end-to-end encrypted messaging for all users, making it stand out amongst the links of Facebook Messenger, Skype, iMessage and Whats App

Signal is available for Android, iPhone. There’s also a Signal desktop client for Windows and Mac. To join, all you need is a phone number.

Like most messaging apps, you can text or make voice or video calls with friends, have group chats and call and use emoji or stickers. After Elon Musk tweeted ‘Use Signal’, an unaffiliated Signal Advance saw its shares rise 5,100% in three days. Signal is also one of the only messenger apps that collects no identifiable information on its users

How many users world-wide?

As of the end of January 2021 Signal had 40 million active users globally, up from 20 million in the previous month. Signal onboarded 7.5 million users in the second week of January this year, 43 times more than the previous week

What makes it different?

Apart from its keen eye on privacy and lack of data capture of its users, Signal stands out from the crowd because it’s not owned by a big tech company. It’s 100% crowdfunded and relies on donations to continue to function and update. Currently Less than 1 percent of Signal users donate.

How is it so private?

Privacy is key to Signal’s USP versus its competitors like What’s App and Messenger. Signal is one of the only major messaging apps in the world that refused to collect identifiable information on its users.

End-to-end encrypted reaches across all communications on Signal. Whether it’s one-on-one conversations, group chats, transferring files, photos, voice calls, and video calls, everything is privately stored. It’s only the people involved in the chat who can see them. The encryption happens between the individual devices using Signal. Signal themselves can’t even see the chats if they wanted to due to the tech involved.

The below image showcases the data captured per messaging platform, as you can see, Signal is out on its own when it comes to privacy.

What do brands need to know

Data capture has been a cornerstone of social targeting over the last decade, a shift to more private platforms like Signal may see a drop off in the richness of data used to get in front of their target audience. This is a long, long way off however as the social network juggernauts like Facebook & Twitter aren’t going anywhere any time soon.