Social Media

WhatsApp competitors witness nearly 1,200% growth ahead of privacy policy deadline: Report

Hemani Sheth Mumbai | Updated on May 15, 2021

Global installs of WhatsApp’s mobile app have dropped 43 per cent between January and April

WhatsApp competitors have witnessed a surge in usage ahead of the implementation of the Facebook-owned messaging platform’s controversial privacy policy update.

According to data from Sensor Tower, WhatsApp rivals have witnessed nearly 1,200 per cent growth in the first four months of 2021 after WhatsApp announced the update in January.

Following the backlash, it had postponed the deadline for users to accept the update to its privacy policy and terms of service by three months, with the new options now being made available on May 15.

Alternatives such as Telegram and Signal have witnessed a surge in usage following the announcement. In the first four months of 2021, Telegram’s installs increased 98 per cent year-over-year to over 161 million, while Signal witnessed a surge of 1,192 per cent YoY in first-time downloads to 64.6 million, Sensor Tower said.

Meanwhile, global installs of WhatsApp’s mobile app declined 43 per cent YoY for the January to April duration. However, it still outdid its competitors with nearly 172.3 million installs.

Telegram, Signal lose momentum

Telegram and Signal, after witnessing a spike in adoption in January, have lost momentum since.

Telegram in January recorded 63.5 million downloads, up 283 per cent YoY from 16.6 million. The downloads of the app have decreased month-over-month since that initial uptick. The app’s download saw a 3 per cent dip YoY in April with 26.2 million installs as compared to nearly 27 million a year earlier.

Signal, in comparison, has still been experiencing elevated adoption, according to the report. The app’s installs increased 5,001 per cent YoY in January to 50.6 million, from 992,000 in January 2020. In February, its installs declined 86 per cent MoM to a little over 7 million.

“Although its installs have declined each month since the January spike, Signal has experienced consistent YoY growth each month,” Sensor Tower said.

The app saw 2.8 million downloads globally in April, more than double the 1.3 million in April 2020.


As for WhatsApp, the app’s first-time installs witnessed a decline even before it received a backlash for its mandatory privacy policy, owing to the Covid-19 pandemic. In April 2020, the app recorded nearly 55.2 million installs globally, down 28 per cent MoM from 76.5 million in March.

The company’s privacy policy and new terms come into effect from May 15.


The company has now updated its FAQ page detailing deadlines for users to accept the policy and the steps that it will take.

“No one will have their accounts deleted or lose functionality of WhatsApp on May 15th because of this update,” reads the page.

“For the last several weeks we've displayed a notification in WhatsApp providing more information about the update. After giving everyone time to review, we're continuing to remind those who haven’t had the chance to do so to review and accept. After a period of several weeks, the reminders people receive will eventually become persistent,”nit said.

Users who receive the persistent reminder will encounter limited functionality on WhatsApp until they accept the updates.


Published on May 14, 2021

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