As Ars Technica reports, Signal has seen so many new users sign up that there have been delays in phone number verifications of new accounts.
Instead, the policy directly states that WhatsApp will share data (including your phone number, profile name, and address book info) with Facebook.
"We may use the information we receive from them, and they may use the information we share with them, to help operate, provide, improve, understand, customize, support, and market our Services and their offerings," it continues.
Now, Facebook employees have gone as far as taking to rival social media platform Twitter to say that, effectively, nothing has changed.
Still, several posters replied to Niamh Sweeney's thread above stating they had deleted their WhatsApp accounts.
Signal's Elon Endorsement
Around the same time, Elon Musk, who has been critical of Facebook in recent times, tweeted "Use Signal" to his 41.6 million followers.
Use Signal— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) January 7, 2021
All of this seems to have had a cumulative effect, resulting in millions of users leaving WhatsApp for Signal, a privacy-focused non-profit service co-founded and funded by Brian Acton, the WhatsApp co-founder who left the company when he became disillusioned with Facebook's privacy practices.
Verification codes are currently delayed across several providers because so many new people are trying to join Signal right now (we can barely register our excitement). We are working with carriers to resolve this as quickly as possible. Hang in there.— Signal (@signalapp) January 7, 2021
As The Verge points out, WhatsApp has released a lengthy statement saying that the policy update does not actually change the way data is shared between the messaging app and Facebook.
It appears now that years of shady practices, epitomized by the 2018 Cambridge Analytica scandal, may be coming to a head with many users leaving WhatsApp for good.