Elon Musk recommended Signal, and now the app is struggling to keep up with the influx...

Shawn Knight

Posts: 12,803   +124
Staff member
In a nutshell: Signal, the cross-platform encrypted messaging app from the non-profit Signal Foundation, is struggling to keep up with a surge in new users following a recent recommendation from a prominent tech figure. It's the sort of endorsement that most companies could only dream of (or would have to pay big bucks for).

The influx of new users came shortly after Elon Musk suggested on Twitter that people use Signal, likely in response to WhatsApp’s updated terms of service. Under the new terms, WhatsApp would be permitted to share user data with parent company Facebook and third parties.

Signal in a Twitter message yesterday said verification codes were being delayed across several providers “because so many new people are trying to join Signal right now.”

Musk currently has 41.6 million followers on Twitter. Signal didn't say how many new users it has added to its platform since Musk's post but factoring in retweets (the tweet was shared more than 25,000 times), there’s no doubt that the message was seen by a lot of eyes.

The communications specialist seemingly got everything worked out a few hours later and was again able to send out verification codes without delay. “Thanks to all of the carriers who flipped the right switches so that people can keep switching,” Signal added.

Given the backlash from WhatsApp's announcement, perhaps the bigger question is whether or not Facebook will walk back its controversial policy changes.

Masthead credit BigTunaOnline

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Dimitriid

Posts: 88   +95
Don't think Whatsapp is in trouble even if it becomes fully tied to Facebook (Or well, more openly so). The thing is that, as bad as Facebook reputation and presence is within the US, once you're talking abroad Facebook reach is actually kind of frightening on how ubiquitous it is.US might be the most important market but having presence in literally every single other market in the world (Except maybe China) is more than enough to sustain them and then some.
 

bviktor

Posts: 311   +570
Signal is great but it's really bare-bones. I hope this lights a fire under their developers to start building out its features more.
Exactly. That's why I use Telegram. And it's extremely, ridiculously robust. It worked for me on an airplane even when literally nothing else did, because the speeds were so slow. I also had intermittent internet issues at home recently, DNS issues, IPv4 issues, all collapsed over and over - then again, Telegram was the only working app.

I love it. And I also love the stickers. I think it's the perfect middle ground. I'm not doing human trafficking etc, so I don't encryption THAT good. Telegram offers E2E anyway, I just never use it, because who cares. And I also hate that Viber-esque "open your phone, then sync your stuff, then some messages get lost" kind of syncing cr@p. Telegram doesn't have that, it just works on all my devices all the time.
 

terzaerian

Posts: 239   +284
Exactly. That's why I use Telegram. And it's extremely, ridiculously robust. It worked for me on an airplane even when literally nothing else did, because the speeds were so slow. I also had intermittent internet issues at home recently, DNS issues, IPv4 issues, all collapsed over and over - then again, Telegram was the only working app.

I love it. And I also love the stickers. I think it's the perfect middle ground. I'm not doing human trafficking etc, so I don't encryption THAT good. Telegram offers E2E anyway, I just never use it, because who cares. And I also hate that Viber-esque "open your phone, then sync your stuff, then some messages get lost" kind of syncing cr@p. Telegram doesn't have that, it just works on all my devices all the time.
I have Telegram too but I trust it less, and I only just managed to convince some friends and family to use Signal. So trying to get them on Telegram would be kind of hard.

Ideally I wish the P2P messenger apps had caught on but sadly they did not.
 
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terzaerian

Posts: 239   +284
Can someone tell me what's the difference between Signal and Telegram?
Signal is AFAIK completely FOSS (free, open-source software) while only certain parts of Telegram are. This doesn't necessarily mean that there is something sinister in the closed-source parts of Telegram but there is no way to know for sure.

The P2P messengers I tried in vain to get people to use got around this by communicating directly client-to-client. On an encrypted VPN it would be basically bullet-proof.
 
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NeoMorpheus

Posts: 86   +169
I dont know if it is a good thing or not, but Telegram keeps all of your messages on their own servers.

But take that with a big sack of salt, since I used it for a very short time and glimpsed over the data.

Edit from another user on another forum:

No default E2E encryption, all messages stored in the cloud and can be decrypted and seen by Telegram unless you use their Secret Chat mode which basically no one uses. No E2E encryption at all for groups or cross-device.

So Telegram is worse than Whatsapp.
 
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dragosmp

Posts: 11   +10
Signal is great but it's really bare-bones. I hope this lights a fire under their developers to start building out its features more.
What do you mean terzaerian? It can do chat, calls and video calls. What else can one do with an SMS app?
 

terzaerian

Posts: 239   +284
What do you mean terzaerian? It can do chat, calls and video calls. What else can one do with an SMS app?
Its SMS implementation has been very janky, for one. I've frequently encountered issues where it can't receive texts on WiFi and it definitely has difficulty handling group SMS in general. Add to that the fact you can't SMS, voice call or video call from Signal desktop. I can deal with all this for the sake of privacy, but if I'm noticing it, then it's definitely turning off more casual users.
 
I dont know if it is a good thing or not, but Telegram keeps all of your messages on their own servers.

But take that with a big sack of salt, since I used it for a very short time and glimpsed over the data.

Edit from another user on another forum:

No default E2E encryption, all messages stored in the cloud and can be decrypted and seen by Telegram unless you use their Secret Chat mode which basically no one uses. No E2E encryption at all for groups or cross-device.

So Telegram is worse than Whatsapp.
Are Telegram Cloud Chats (normal ones) secure?

"Since without E2EE Cloud Chat data is theoretically accessible, we use a unique distributed infrastructure to protect it. Cloud Chat data is stored in multiple data centers around the globe that are controlled by different legal entities spread across different jurisdictions. The relevant decryption keys are split into parts and are never kept in the same place as the data they protect. As a result, local intruders or engineers can't access this data, and several court orders from different jurisdictions are required to force us to give up any of it.

Thanks to this structure, we can ensure that no single government or block of like-minded countries can intrude on people's privacy and freedom of expression. Telegram can be forced to give up data only if an issue is grave and universal enough to pass the scrutiny of several different legal systems around the world.

As a result, we have disclosed 0 bytes of user data to third parties, including governments, to this day."

The Telegram aproach it's much better also because you can use independent OS applications who will syncronize all your chats. Also the app it's not using a lot of storage from your phone for storing messages, photos and videos. Everything it's stored in cloud. So you don't need to buy icloud space or google drive space.
 

terzaerian

Posts: 239   +284
I like it bare bones. I certainly hope they NEVER bloat it up!
I agree to a point. Does it need to be a social network? No. But it'll be hard for Signal to drive mass adoption if it does not at least punch at Telegram's level wrt features and ease of use.
 
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Knot Schure

Posts: 310   +137
Its SMS implementation has been very janky, for one. I've frequently encountered issues where it can't receive texts on WiFi and it definitely has difficulty handling group SMS in general. Add to that the fact you can't SMS, voice call or video call from Signal desktop. I can deal with all this for the sake of privacy, but if I'm noticing it, then it's definitely turning off more casual users.
You can voice call over desktop now. But you are right about the SMS integration issue, and it is addressed on their website, but yes its no excuse. My family and I all keep both the default sms for sms, and do not 'allow' the sms integration on Signal, or you end up getting texts, sometimes many hours late.