— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) January 7, 2021
Signal: What Elon Musk’s tweet means
Musk was telling users to move to an alternative instant messaging platform called Signal, a messaging app that focuses on user privacy. The platform is popular and is extensively used by several types of users including academics, journalists, privacy researchers as well as security experts. An open source platform, Signal also offers end-to-end encryption like WhatsApp.
The Elon Musk effect: Surge in users
In true testament of the effect of Elon Musk, Signal has witnessed a significant boom in the number of new users signing up on the messaging platform, Signal said. The company added the boost is so significant that it has been facing delays in verifying the phone numbers of the new users. The boost being witnessed by the not-for-profit platform is also partly due to WhatsApp’s own decision to bring new changes and forcing users to accept them.
Still, Musk, who has now surpassed Jeff Bezos to become the richest man in the world, did not name Facebook or WhatsApp in the tweet, leaving it open to interpretation and speculation as to whether it was even meant as an alternative to the social media giant’s messaging app, or just a random well-timed suggestion to his 41.6 million followers on the microblogging site.
It seems that even though Facebook has been criticised several times for its stance on user data privacy, the social media giant is not in the mood to back out any time soon.