Messenger Signal ready to go mainstream, take on WhatsApp

WhatsApp launches new campaign to curb fake news amid COVID-19

San Francisco: Privacy centric messaging app Signal is gearing up to take on Facebook-owned WhatsApp as it is mulling to go mainstream now and put the $50 million infusion from WhatsApp co-founder Brian Acton to good use.

Moxie Marlinspike — who launched Signal — has always talked about making encrypted communications easy enough for anyone to use.

The difference, today, is that Signal is finally reaching that mass audience it was always been intended for — not just the privacy diehards, activists, and cybersecurity nerds that formed its core user base for years, thanks in part to a concerted effort to make the app more accessible and appealing to the mainstream, the Wired recently reported.

This comes at a time when Facebook-owned WhatsApp users are looking for alternatives as the messaging platform has been hit by spyware and other privacy-related controversies.

“The major transition Signal has undergone is from a three-person small effort to something that is now a serious project with the capacity to do what is required to build software in the world today,” Marlinspike was quoted as saying by the Wired.

The investment by the WhatsApp co-founder Acton has enabled the team to add features that also attract regular folks looking for an alternative to WhatsApp and Telegram.

Since Signal is fundamentally end-to-end encrypted and doesn’t store conversation metadata on its servers, like when who texted whom, the developers were faced with additional obstacles on that path.

The foundation had to make stickers compatible with encryption so users can send them securely and anonymously.

Enabling group administration was also a hard feat, as Signal has to give administrators the ability to add and remove members without its servers knowing who’s part of the conversation, according to Android Police.