WhatsApp and Signal Combine for 600M+ Downloads Despite Struggles

Despite a bad news cycle, WhatsApp and Signal continue to perform well on app stores, pulling in a combined 600 million downloads in 2022.

Over the past few days a couple stories surfaced that place new scrutiny on encrypted messaging apps WhatsApp and Signal.

The first of these stories is related to WhatsApp. U.S. regulators, like the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), have begun to hit banks and financial institutions with hefty fines for record-keeping failures related to the use of  encrypted messaging platforms.

The second story centers around a phishing campaign targeting the communications giant Twilio. After hackers gained access to customer data, Signal — whose app relies on Twilio’s phone number verification services — announced that phone numbers and SMS verification codes for nearly 2,000 users were compromised as a result of the breach.

With this in mind, we wanted to see how users responded to this news. We leveraged our app intelligence tools to analyze global download trends for the iOS and Android versions of WhatsApp and Signal.

Here’s what we found…

30-Day Overview of WhatsApp and Signal…

1.WhatsApp Messenger by WhatsApp LLC
- 30-day Android Downloads: 62,673,289
- 30-day iOS Downloads: 21,941,241

2. Signal by Signal Foundation
- 30-day Android Downloads: 4,034,148
- 30-day iOS Downloads: 1,535,242

Above you’ll find daily global downloads for the Android (green) and iOS (red) versions of WhatsApp. These downloads are from the period between January 1st and August 17th, 2022.

In total, WhatsApp has been downloaded 566,486,589 times globally since the beginning of 2022.

  • Android: 489,106,219 downloads
  • iOS: 77,380,370 downloads

Just like the previous chart, here you’ll find daily global downloads for the Android (blue) and iOS (orange) versions of Signal. These downloads are from the period between January 1st and August 17th, 2022.

In total, Signal has been downloaded 34,325,185 times globally since the beginning of 2022.

  • Android: 19,882,290 downloads
  • iOS: 14,442,895 downloads

Final Thoughts

To put it bluntly, users don’t care. Not yet at least. Both WhatsApp and Signal have performed well in the wake of a bad news cycle. While Signal’s struggles may cost them user confidence in the near term, the fault ultimately lies with Twilio. Moreover, the breach may simply have been too small to register on most people’s radars.

That said, it’ll be interesting to keep an eye on the long term impact of regulatory action against organizations using WhatsApp. So far the only major player to get hit is JPMorgan, which received $200 million in fines from the SEC and CFTC. But word on the street is that Citigroup, Goldman Sachs, and HSBC may not be far behind.

What’s more, while WhatsApp is the name everyone is talking about, there’s no reason to believe Signal, WeChat, and Telegram will get a pass from regulators. Indeed, there may be a reckoning coming for encrypted messaging apps, especially as it pertains to their use in enterprise environments. We’ll certainly be watching this space in the months to come.

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