Created by American cryptographer and current CEO, Moxie Marlinspike, Signal is a messaging app, available for iPhone, iPad, Android, Windows, Mac and Linux, whose primary promise is privacy, shown by its tagline that says ‘Say Hello to Privacy’.
Its service is end-to-end encrypted just like WhatsApp. However, it may be worthy of note that WhatsApp uses the Signal protocol for its end-to-end encryption feature. And unlike WhatsApp, Signal is not owned by privacy-controversy-plagued Facebook. The app is developed by the Signal Foundation, a non-profit organization created by WhatsApp co-founder Brian Acton, and Signal CEO Marlinspike.
An advantage of Signal being owned by a non profit organization is that it is not influenced by the need to harvest its users data to garner advertisement revenue.
Signal has also often been used during civil actions because of its data policy. Reports say that it was used during the Black lives matter protest in the US and the end SARS protest in Nigeria when there hints that the government was spying on protesters.
Signal is completely free to use; its users can send messages, make audio and video calls, share media and links, just like other messaging apps.
If you create a group on Signal, you are limited to 150 members and people are not automatically added to the group. They are sent an invite which they have to accept to join the group, unlike WhatsApp or Telegram where someone who has your number can often add you to a group without your consent. And unless you change the setting on WhatsApp, everyone can directly add you to a group.
Signal lets you individually reply to messages, send emoji reactions to a message, and even delete messages from the chat by choosing the ‘Delete for Everyone’ option. However, we’ve seen these features on other messages apps as well, including WhatsApp.
Signal also has a disappearing messages feature. You can set disappearing messages on for each individual chat and choose the time ranging from 5 seconds to one week.
In prioritizing privacy as its main focus, beyond offering end-to-end encryption, Signal chooses to collect minimal user data without compromising on features.
However, Social networks are successful mainly because other people you know are using it, and you can therefore socialize extensively. And that is why the successful mainstream adoption of Signal in the long run would depend on how many more of your colleagues, friends, and relatives join, just as is true for us at Inclusion Times.