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Elon Musk says you should use Signal instead of Facebook. Here’s what you need to know about the app



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The Signal app encrypts all your messages to others on the platform.

Roy Liu / Bloomberg / Getty Images

Tech mogul Elon Musk – known as wide for throws cars into the orbit of the sun which he speaks for against COVID-19 precautions – took to Twitter on Thursday to slam Facebook over the latest privacy policy updates for its supposedly secure encrypted messaging app WhatsApp. Musk instead, recommended users choose the encrypted messaging app Signal.

The tweet was then retweeted by Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey. Shortly after, Signal tweeted that it was working to handle the increase in new users.

Musk’s Twitter approval also happened to cause shares in the biotechnology company Signal Advance to rise, despite the fact that it is not completely independent of Signal, which is not a listed company.

This is not the first time that Musk is publicly sparring with Facebook because of privacy. In 2018, he not only got his own personal Facebook page removed, but also his companies Tesla and SpaceX. However, his intake of the protracted battle between Signal and WhatsApp is not off-base.

Both of them encrypted messaging apps is found to have security flaws through the years that have been resolved. For years, WhatsApp has openly collected certain user data to share with parent company Facebook. Its latest policy change expands just this. Signal has, on the other hand a story of struggle any device that requests your data, and adds features for further anonymization you where possible.

Here’s the basics of Signal you should know if you are interested in using the secure messaging app.

What Signal is and how encrypted messaging works

Signal is a typical one-touch installation app that can be found on your regular marketplaces like the Google Play Store and Apple’s App Store and works just like the usual SMS app. It is an open source development provided free of charge by the non-profit Signal Foundation, and has been famously used for years by high-profile privacy icons such as Edward Snowden.

Signal’s main function is that it can send text, video, audio and picture messages protected by end-to-end encryption after verifying your phone number and let you independently verify the identity of other signal users. You can also use it to make voice and video calls, either one-on-one or with a group. For a deeper dive into the potential pitfalls and limitations of encrypted messaging apps, CNETs Laura Hautalas explains is a lifeguard. But for our purposes, the key to Signal is encryption.

Despite the buzz around the term, end-to-end encryption is simple: Unlike normal SMS messaging apps, it distorts your messages before sending them and only releases them to the verified recipient. This prevents law enforcement, your mobile carrier and other snooping devices from being able to read the contents of your messages, even when they intercept them (which happens more often than you might think).

When it comes to privacy, it’s hard to beat Signal’s offerings. It does not store your user data. And in addition to its encryption capability, it gives you extended on-screen privacy settings, including app-specific locks, blank pop-up notifications, face-blurred anti-surveillance tools, and disappearing notifications. Occasional bugs have proven that technology is it far from bulletproof, of course, but the overall arc of Signal’s reputation and results has kept it at the top of every privacy – savvy person’s list of identity protection tools.

For years, the key privacy challenge for Signal lay not in its technology but in its wider application. Sending an encrypted signal message is great, but if your recipient does not use Signal, your privacy may be zero. Think of it as herd immunity created by vaccines, but for your message privacy.

However, now that Musk and Dorsey’s endorsements have sent a surge of users to get a privacy booster shot, this challenge may be a thing of the past.


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