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GUANGZHOU, China – Downloads of privacy-focused messaging apps Signal and Telegram increased as users looked for alternatives FacebookWhatsApp owning concerns about changes to the service’s privacy policy.

Signal had around 7.5 million installations worldwide Apple App Store and Google Play Store between January 6 and 10, according to Sensor Tower. That is 43 times the number from the previous week. It’s the highest weekly or even monthly installation number for Signal over the course of the app.

According to Apptopia, Telegram had 5.6 million downloads worldwide from Wednesday to Sunday.

Signal claims to have “end-to-end encryption” as part of its service, which prevents messages from being read by anyone who is not the intended recipient.

The surge in downloads of these two apps is due to WhatsApp’s release of an update to its privacy policy on January 4th. WhatsApp has been sharing certain data with Facebook since 2016. However, until now, users have had the option to choose not to.

Starting February 8, users will be prompted in the app to accept the updated terms in order to continue using WhatsApp. Users in Europe and the UK will see a different message due to privacy policies in those countries.

However, WhatsApp messages are encrypted, which means that Facebook cannot see their content. However, WhatsApp collects a lot of other data that can be shared with the parent company.

These data contain Account registration information such as your phone number, transaction details, service-related information, information about how you interact with others, including companies using the service, and information about mobile devices.

In a statement Monday, WhatsApp said this update will not compromise the privacy of messages sent to friends and family. Clarified that the update “will include changes related to the way we send messages to a business on WhatsApp that are optional and provide further transparency about how we collect and use data”.

WhatsApp says The data shared with Facebook is used to improve the infrastructure, promote security and refine the services by making suggestions or by personalizing functions and content. This could include integration between Facebook branded products and WhatsApp.

Following the announcement, Tesla CEO Elon Musk urged his Twitter followers last week to “use signal”.

Signal reported last week that verification codes sent to users via SMS to use the app were delayed due to high demand. Signal said additional servers were added to handle the influx of new users.

“We’re still shaking traffic records and increasing capacity as more people come to terms with how much they don’t like Facebook’s new terms,” ​​Signal said in a tweet. “If you haven’t recently been able to create a new group, please try again. New servers are ready to serve you.”

Despite the surge in Signal and Telegram downloads, WhatsApp has not seen a decline, according to Adam Blacker, Vice President of Insights at Apptopia.

“It’s too ingrained. I suspect there are a very small number of people who use WhatsApp on a daily basis and recently deleted it,” Blacker told CNBC via email.

“Even those who download and use Signal or Telegram will continue to use WhatsApp because that is where most of their friends and family are located. They can start talking to specific people on Signal but still chat with their mother on WhatsApp.”

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