Signal messaging app is on track to cross one million downloads per day as people look for WhatsApp alternative

Meanwhile, the Facebook-owned company saw a decline in daily downloads

This photograph taken on 11 January, 2021 in Toulouse, southwestern France, shows the logos of WhatsApp and Signal mobile messaging services. Secure messaging app Signal is on the top downloads on Apple Store and Google Play platforms in several countries after the popular messaging app WhatsApp asked its some two billion users on January 7, 2021 to accept new terms that will allow it to share more information with its parents company Facebook and roll out advertising and e-commerce. / AFP / Lionel BONAVENTURE
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A whopping 810,000 new users downloaded messaging app Signal on Sunday, January 10, following the announcement of WhatsApp's new privacy policy, and Elon Musk's glowing endorsement.

That’s nearly an 18-fold increase compared with Wednesday, January 6, the day WhatsApp announced its new controversial privacy terms, according to data from research firm Apptopia. The number of installs every day is on track to cross one million.

WhatsApp’s new privacy policy is being met with criticism because the social networking app is asking its users to share personal information with its parent company – Facebook – or have their accounts deactivated.

Watch this video to learn more about the new terms:

Users are being told about the updated privacy policy through an in-app alert, which directs them to agree to the new conditions. For now, users can opt to ignore the alert. However, that will not be the case after Monday, February 8.

After the announcement, Tesla chief executive Elon Musk – the world's richest man – urged his Twitter followers to migrate to another platform: Signal.

In a tweet on Thursday, he simply wrote: “Use Signal."

Other instant messaging app alternatives suggested by privacy advocates include Telegram, Threema, Element and Wickr Me.

To cope with the rise in interest, Signal has added more servers to handle the traffic. Up until recently, the non-profit app was largely used by journalists and human rights activists looking for a more secure and encrypted mode of communication.

At the same time, WhatsApp saw a 7 per cent decline in daily installs on Sunday compared with Wednesday, stated Apptopia.

Additional reporting by Reuters