According to data sourced from mobile analytics and intelligence firm sensor tower, WhatsApp downloads were down by 80% to 1.3 million between October 26 and November 3 from the previous nine-day period. In the previous nine-day period, between October 17 and October 25, downloads stood around 8.9 million. The Facebook-owned WhatsApp is Indiaâ€™s biggest market with 400 million users.
In the same period, downloads of end-to-end encrypted messaging app, Signal increased by 63 per cent to 9,600. Telegram messenger also saw an increase in downloads in this period by 10 per cent, hitting 9,20,000.
On 29 October, WhatsApp revealed that it was suing Israel-based NSO Group for developing the Pegasus spyware that was used to target 1,400 civil rights activists, lawyers, and journalists across the world, including several in India.
The Indian government has sought an explanation from WhatsApp over the spyware attack. ‘Government of India is concerned at the breach of privacy of citizens of India on WhatsApp. We have asked WhatsApp to explain the kind of breach and what it is doing to safeguard the privacy of millions of Indian citizens,’ Information Technology Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad had tweeted.
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