Home Tech Signal jabs at Facebook and navigates growing pains as popularity surges

Signal jabs at Facebook and navigates growing pains as popularity surges

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The catalyst was a backlash against rival WhatsApp, which announced an updated privacy policy that included sharing some user account details with its parent company, Facebook Inc., turning off some of its 2 billion-plus users. Tesla Inc. Chief Executive Officer Elon Musk helped stoke the exodus, encouraging his army of Twitter followers to “use Signal.”

Suddenly a niche app endorsed by National Security Agency whistle-blower Edward Snowden was swarmed by new users—more than 50 million people downloaded it within 10 days, doubling Signal’s total user base and making it the top downloaded app in 70 countries, according to several current and former employees. The meteoric growth put huge pressure on Signal’s 30 or so employees, mostly engineers, product designers and developers who work remotely from their homes in the U.S. and Canada. 

The deluge also exposed tensions about the direction and management of Signal under…

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