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Signal to Hire more Staff after WhatsApp controversy sparked a spike in downloads

For representational purpose
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For representational purpose

Highlights

In the last week, Signal was downloaded by 17.8 million users, a 62-fold increase from the last week, as per the Sensor Tower data.

Messaging app Signal has seen "unprecedented" growth following a controversial privacy shift from rival WhatsApp. It is looking to hire more staff to beef up the service and support infrastructure, the head of its controlling foundation.

Along with another encrypted app, Telegram, Signal has been the primary beneficiary of online outrage over changes announced last week, which require WhatsApp users to share their data with Facebook and Instagram.

Telegram said on Wednesday that it had surpassed 500 million active users globally.

Brian Acton, who co-founded WhatsApp before selling it to Facebook and later co-founded the Signal Foundation, declined to give Signal comparable data, but said the expansion in recent days had been "vertical."

"We've seen unprecedented growth this past week," Acton said in an email to Reuters. "It's safe to say that because of this record growth, we're even more interested in finding talented people."

He also said that Signal was working to improve its video and group chat features, allowing it to compete with WhatsApp, Microsoft Teams, and other conferencing apps that have become vital to everyday life over the past year.

In the last week, Signal was downloaded by 17.8 million users, a 62-fold increase from the previous week, as per the Sensor Tower data. WhatsApp was downloaded by 10.6 million users during the same period, a decrease of 17%.

Privacy advocates have joined the WhatsApp changes, pointing to what they say is Facebook's poor record of supporting consumers' interests in managing their data, with many suggesting that users migrate to other platforms.

The Signal Foundation, a Silicon Valley-based nonprofit that currently oversees the app, launched in February 2018 and Acton provided $ 50 million seed funding.

It's been around thanks to donations ever since, with Tesla Inc CEO Elon Musk among his supporters, and Acton saying there were no plans to pursue different funding sources.

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