Signal has started rolling out its latest beta version which not only includes performance improvement and bug fixes but also offers a new payment feature using cryptocurrency, initially available for users in the United Kingdom.
Named “Signal Payments” the new features reflect the privacy-based mentality of the popular messaging app by providing a means for users to easily and privately send and receive money “as easily as sending or receiving a message”.
The feature is currently only available to users using Signal’s beta version who are located in the United Kingdom. It makes use of the privacy-focused payment network MobileCoin, which makes use of the MOB cryptocurrency.
Signal is Growing
Eligible users can link their MobileCoin wallet to signal to start using the feature by sending and receiving funds, as well as reviewing their wallet’s history and keep track of their holdings from the Signal App.
While the Signal account will be linked to the MobileCoin wallet, the user’s financial information will be stored locally to ensure its privacy, meaning that Signal will never have access to their information or access to the funds.
While Signal stated in the announcement that the beta testing will be expanded in the future as users provide the team with feedback, no date has been set yet.
Whatsapp User Exodus Continues
Thousands of Whatsapp users continue to migrate to other instant messaging platforms as May 15th gets closer.
The reason behind the mass exodus is the changes to Whatsapp privacy policies, which have been controversial among users and privacy experts due to the change on the platform’s ethos as Facebook aims to increase its earnings 6 years after the acquisition.
While Facebook has insisted that the changes to the privacy policies should not concern users as conversations and other user data will not be shared with any party, their defense has largely been based on a misunderstanding of how the policy affects its users.
The new provisions will provide WhatsApp with a means for Facebook to capitalize on data resulting from its users messaging business via Whatsaap, allowing for ad targeting and other types of tracking.
While some users were already affected by these policies due to having to accept them in the past, Facebook had given its users the possibility to deny access to this information and continue using the app. Now, users will have either to accept the policy changes or not use the platform.
As a result of the controversy, Facebook decided to move the policy changes from February 8th to May 17th as it aimed to set the record straight with users. Despite the companies dominance in the industry, a big part of the user base has decided to move to privacy-focused platforms like Signal and Telegram.
Latest Data Leak Reveals Facebook CEO Uses Signal
While Facebook’s latest reported data breach took place back in 2019, the data has started to be made public in recent days, providing access to more than 500 million users’ phone numbers and personal information.
Facebook says it has fixed the vulnerabilities that allowed hackers to gain access to the data but experts warned that the leaked information can be used by malicious actors as part of scams, social engineering, and hacking attacks.
Dave Walker, a cybersecurity researcher, recently made public that Mark Zuckerberg was among the users who had their data leaked on the breach.
In another turn of events, Mark Zuckerberg also respects his own privacy, by using a chat app that has end-to-end encryption and isn't owned by @facebook
This is the number associated with his account from the recent facebook leak. https://t.co/AXbXrF4ZxE
— Dave Walker (@Daviey) April 4, 2021
Internet users were quick to join the trend by making comments and jokes about WhatsApp, Facebook, and Zuckerberg’s stance on privacy, with Signal’s official Twitter account posting: “With the May 15th WhatsApp Terms of Service acceptance deadline fast approaching, Mark leads by example.”
The relevance of WhatsApp as the primary method of communication among phone users in a lot of countries is sure to prevent most of its userbase to easily migrate to other platforms without losing connections.
Signal has established itself as a popular alternative due to its privacy focus and endorsement by personalities like Elon Musk.