‘I am the David Going Against the Goliath that I Created'
Forbes India|February 12, 2021
Brian Acton, head of Signal Foundation and co-founder of WhatsApp, on the swirling debate on privacy and the future of messaging platforms
MANU BALACHANDRAN

THE SECOND WEEK OF January was particularly busy for Brian Acton, the executive chairman of the Signal Foundation.

On January 7, Tesla’s Elon Musk tweeted “Use Signal”, a reference to the messaging platform app that rivals the likes of WhatsApp and Telegram. The app garnered about 1.3 million global downloads on the App Store on January 11, according to app data and analytics website Apptopia. Acton, who co-founded WhatsApp and heads the Signal Foundation, the non-profit behind the app, speaks about concerns over WhatsApp’s new privacy features and the need for privacy. Edited excerpts:

Q What’s the difference you see between the early days of Whatsapp and signal?

In the early days of WhatsApp, not everyone had a smartphone. Over the following five or eight years, people bought more and more smartphones, and WhatsApp grew to over a billion users. In today’s world, everyone has a smartphone. And you’re in a position where people can try out your app at any time.

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