messenger
Whatsapp founder takes senior position at Signal

Even if the majority are still using WhatsApp, Signal is a safe alternative.

© Zachary Schurer/Picture Alliance

Whatsapp co-founder Brian Acton invested $50 million four years ago in developing Signal Messenger. Now he will initially take over as CEO on a temporary basis. What will this change?

One of the most popular alternatives to Whatsapp is getting a new boss: After former CEO Moxie Marlinspike abruptly resigned from his position at the beginning of the year, Whatsapp co-founder Brian Acton is now taking over as interim CEO. They both wanted to search for a successor, even if Signal already had a real expert on board.

Acton, who founded Whatsapp with Jan Koum in 2009 and sold Messenger to Meta (and then Facebook) for $19 billion just five years later, is perfect as a figurehead in the struggle against his creativity. He’s worked on the Meta more than once since it was sold sharp criticism.

Exactly why Acton left Facebook is unknown in detail. However, it is likely related to the group’s decisions about the future of the Messenger. And for Acton, leaving seems important: with him He gave up 850 million dollars of stock options pending – just a few months before they were available.

It is also significant that he chose Signal, known for protecting his privacy, as his new home. Acton is serious about the crypto specialty Messenger Signal: In 2018, he joined the Signal Foundation with an investment of $50 million and became the Chairman of the Board of Directors. In total, the foundation received from him more than 100 million dollars. The waiving of hundreds of millions of US dollars and funding for a competing product clearly shows how important it is to Acton to kill the monster he created – in part.

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“Using the Signal” – Elon Musk

Signal Messenger is often considered the preferred method when it comes to switching from WhatsApp. In the spring of 2021, Signal saw a strong influx of new users, with Facebook’s Messenger causing an uproar and criticism of new data protection regulations. Even a tweet from Tesla boss Elon Musk led to a brief shutdown of the service because he explicitly recommended the use of Signal.

The outgoing manager wrote on the company blog that after working on Signal for ten years, he decided it was time to leave the post. Marlinspike initially programmed the messenger largely on its own and now has 30 employees.

The direction in which the encrypted messenger is moving remains open. A successor, if he or she exists and Acton has not retained the position, is not in the future. Another little sign saw criticism Pending, because a payment function has been added as part of the messenger, which works with the crypto currency Mobilecoin.

According to some IT security experts, this new functionality, which has nothing to do with the formation and receipt of messages, puts the application’s encryption at risk. Theory: Wherever anonymous cryptocurrencies can be traded, users with criminal intent are not far away. This can provoke the authorities and accelerate the legal termination of encrypted communications, and thus fear.

It is still interesting whether Acton, who has always presented himself as a prominent advocate for data protection and security, would immediately respond to users’ concerns and lower the signal in terms of encryption.

Read also:

Signal is an anti-WhatsApp, but can it stay that way in the long run?

‘Fall from Underworld’: Signal chief finds hacking tools for governments and threatens retaliation

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