By Munsif Vengattil and Eva Mathews (Reuters) – Messaging app Signal has seen “unprecedented” growth after a controversial change in privacy terms from rival WhatsApp and is looking to hire more staff to bolster service and infrastructure. supportive, the director of its controlling foundation said Wednesday. Along with another encrypted app, Telegram, Signal has been the main beneficiary of online outrage over changes announced last week, which require WhatsApp users to share their data with Facebook (NASDAQ 🙂 and Instagram. Telegram said on Wednesday that it had surpassed 500 million active users globally. Brian Acton, who co-founded WhatsApp before selling it to Facebook and later co-founded the Signal Foundation, declined to give equivalent data for Signal, but said the expansion in recent days had been “vertical.” “We have seen unprecedented growth this past week,” Acton said in an email to Reuters. “It’s safe to say that because of this record growth, we are even more interested in finding talented people.” He also said Signal was working to improve its video and group chat capabilities, allowing it to better compete with WhatsApp, Microsoft (NASDAQ 🙂 Teams, and other conferencing apps that have become vital to everyday life over the past year. The signal was downloaded by 17.8 million users in the last seven days, a 62-fold increase from the previous week, according to Sensor Tower data. WhatsApp was downloaded by 10.6 million users during the same period, a decrease of 17%. Privacy advocates have joined WhatsApp’s changes, pointing to what they say is Facebook’s poor track record of supporting consumers’ interests when handling their data, with many suggesting that users migrate to other platforms. The Silicon Valley-based nonprofit Signal Foundation, which currently oversees the app, launched in February 2018 and Acton provided seed funding of $ 50 million. It’s been around thanks to donations ever since, with Tesla (NASDAQ 🙂 Inc CEO Elon Musk among his supporters, with Acton saying there were no plans to pursue different sources of funding. “Millions of people value privacy enough to maintain it, and we are trying to show that there is an alternative to ad-based business models that exploit user privacy,” Acton said, adding that donations were “reaching streams “.