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Trump fears have helped double downloads for Signal, the private messaging app

Encrypted messaging is the new regular messaging.

Violent Protests Erupt At UC Berkeley Against Speech By Breitbart Writer Elijah Nouvelage / Getty
Rani Molla is a senior correspondent at Vox and has been focusing her reporting on the future of work. She has covered business and technology for more than a decade — often in charts — including at Bloomberg and the Wall Street Journal.

It’s a scary time for personal privacy.

Donald Trump’s administration dealt a severe blow to internet privacy with the rollback of rules requiring internet providers to ask their customers for permission to use their personal data. Additionally, the Muslim ban and immigration raids have got the U.S. population on edge regarding their mobile communications.

But it has been great for encrypted messaging app Signal, which saw 1.4 million downloads on iOS and Google Play in the first quarter of 2017 — nearly double last year’s downloads for the same period, according to app data company App Annie. Forty percent of those came from the U.S. Between Nov. 8, 2016 (Election Day) and the end of the first quarter of 2017, Signal saw 2.2 million worldwide combined iOS and Google Play downloads.

Trump’s inauguration was the most popular download day for Signal, which was the 19th most-downloaded iOS app.

Signal’s previous high came the day after Trump won the presidential election. Signal has since largely stayed around the top 50 — a rank it had previously been unable to hit since launching on iOS in 2014.

These sustained gains have to do partly with the network effect, according to App Annie Director of Market Insights Amir Ghodrati. The more people who download the app, the more people who need to download the app to keep up with friends who are using Signal, and the more useful it becomes as a messaging tool.

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