From Whatsapp to Telegram or Signal: A late but welcome exodus
With 75 million users in 3 days, Telegram has become the main destination for Whatsapp migrants. Late, but always welcome.
In December 2020, Telegram announced 500 million users and a few days later the trend accelerated to 75 millions in the space of 3 days. Thank to Twitter, Facebook, Google and Apple for censoring Trump and his supporters on the one hand and that Facebook thought to swallow the mountain of excrement by demanding that now all of your data, your conversations and your contacts Whatsapp would be shared with Facebook and used systematically for advertising purposes.
Anti-Trumpian censorship raised eyebrows and prompted the search for other networks. Being a Telegram user for over 5 years with dozens of groups, for me the exodus is late, temporary, but always welcome. Being in the GAFAMs is like being in a killer sect, you don’t know how ripped off you are until you come out and smash the door or someone does an “intervention”.
What is interesting is that Trump and his troop of merry fellows have not yet landed on Telegram, maybe they think, like all of the Western media, that the servers are hosted to the right of Vladimir Putin’s fridge. Facebook’s takeover of Whatsapp was the result of mass espionage by Suckerberg.
He offered a “free VPN” with which he sucked all the data and conversations of users and that is how he understood the enormous popularity of Whatsapp in Asia and the Middle East. And this time, it was Asia that gave the signal for the exodus, with Moses occupied in the Promised Land, India was the fastest on Telegram and Signal. Which is silly in the latter case, because Signal is an American company with American servers.
If you think an American tech company isn’t somehow controlled by the US government, you haven’t figured it out for the past 25 years. Telegram, at least, is transparent about what it allows or disallows and we know the location of its servers. India is kicking things off, but in the majority of cases the habit dies hard and many will stay on WhatsApp because it’s better off.
And that anyway, Facebook must already be spying on Whatsapp somehow, it’s just that it clearly announces it. Like when you’ve eaten a dish in a restaurant and the chef comes to tell you at the end that he spat on it before serving you. The damage is done and you can only digest.
Telegram must have seen the blow coming by announcing its funding strategy with advertising, available only on major Channels. The majority of users will not see a single ad. The bigger ones, those who make money with it, will fund a lot of the infrastructure.
This is a good thing, because you cannot ride indefinitely on equity or on gasoline fumes. Telegram is not like Twitter which is just an oligarchic medium that does not earn a dime and still survives solely on financial speculation. Signal’s case will be problematic in this area, as it cannot impose publicity when it is screaming out loud that it is against tracking. And if he charges for the app, then people will be racing out of the gate.
Personally, I have never used Signal, I installed it a few years ago and uninstalled it a few months later. It has no use and nobody cares. If I want an end-to-end encrypted conversation, I can use Telegram’s Secrets Chats which are designed for that.
Because daring to tell us that the groups on Signal are more secure, because they use end-to-end encryption, is like saying that a group of 10 people enter an armored house from all sides, but that among the 10, there are two spies. This type of encryption was only designed for two people, three and there are already no secrets.
The GAFAMs did not censor Trump because censorship has been around for years. They staged a coup d’etat and since I live in a country that had a coup a decade ago, I can tell you about it. The effectiveness of a coup d’etat is not based on firepower, but on the beheading of communications. Neutralization of communications, systematic well-thought-out propaganda on the benefits of the Coup d’Etat and denigration through hatred of the opponent. It must remind you of something these last few days.
This Coup d’Etat will leave traces with a consummate divorce between the dominant and tyrannical power and the rest of the people. But the Whatsapp exodus has two very distinct reasons. The Asia which is starting to break up which represents the majority of migrants and the others who seek networks where algorithms do not think for them. And in 2021, I would even say, in an ode to irony and irony, is that if you want maximum freedom of speech, then use WeChat.
Main messaging app in China with 1 billion users, it would be amazing if China censors you if you criticize Western rotting. Of course, there are constraints with the ban on criticizing Chinese ideology, but to be honest, we don’t care. Much of the west is still sticking to the right thinking and they are going to keep using the same crap, because for now the GAFAMs are going in their direction.
The day will come when they will be taken in the face as with the Conservatives, because a company is always totalitarianism for profit and when it has a hold on the world, then it can do a lot of damage.