“We are excited about India”, says Signal’s Brian Acton


California-based messaging app Signal’s co-founder Brian Acton lauded Indian users’ strong stand in favor of data privacy saying that India has been a “focus” for the company for many years.

The app, backed by the non-profit Signal Foundation, is being pitched against WhatsApp as one of the top alternatives to the latter following uproar over its privacy policy update, which has sparked fears over user data and privacy.

Hailing India for being at the forefront in adopting new technology, Acton stated that Signal is “including new Indian languages” in addition to 10 existing ones.

“We also believe in localization and are calibrated for 10 Indian languages so far, namely Bengali, Gujarati, Hindi, Kannada, Malayalam, Marathi, Punjabi, Tamil, Telugu and Urdu. We are working on many more,” he told news reports.

“We are excited about India, my parents are from Tamil Nadu so it’s exciting personally as well; Signal doesn’t collect any data so we can’t sell what we don’t have,” Acton added.

Signal, which has become a buzzword over the last few days, has topped the charts on iOS App store in more than 70 countries and the Android App Store in over 50 nations, Acton said, adding that the “burgeoning support from all corners of India” has been encouraging for the company.

“India is a country that has always been ahead of the curve at adopting the best technology, and it’s exciting to see it happening again. To see India, make such a strong stand, in favor of data-privacy and a new more privacy-oriented messenger speaks volumes. We are now continuing to scale infrastructure and are all hands-on deck, so as to handle this incredible growth,” he noted.

“India is such a large aspect of the internet, and what India wants is what the internet wants. This growth proves that what India wants is digital privacy,” Acton stated.

Talking about WhatsApp’s new privacy policy, Acton remarked that the messaging platform’s new update “reminds people that Facebook is for-profit company.”

WhatsApp, which for the last decade hasn’t been challenged by any other messaging application, finally has Signal and other platforms as potential threats. Speaking about the competition between the two, Acton stated that the app has been “carving a niche of its own” since users feel it’s a “safe app to be on.”

“Our key differentiator, when compared to other messenger apps, is that we want you to own your own data. There are no ads, no trackers, and no analytics,” he stated.

Acton, who co-founded WhatsApp in 2009 with Jan Koum, had quit the company following a disagreement over how Facebook should monetize WhatsApp.

He subsequently co-founded Signal in 2014 with Moxie Marlinspike. Signal is a cross-platform end-to-end encrypted messaging service that allows users to have one-on-one conversations and group chats.