Several anonymous current and one former named employee are reportedly worried that Signal, the end-to-end encrypted messaging app that has seen huge growth in recent months, is not doing enough to police speech happening on the platform and enforce rules that would “remove bad actors.”
Signal, along with Telegram, gained millions of new users after Facebook’s latest privacy undermining policy changes, this time affecting the giant’s WhatsApp messaging app. And as people are leaving WhatsApp and discovering and joining alternative, more secure platforms, that also have business models ensuring data privacy – these apps started coming under attack from the outside, from some corporate media and political circles.
But now, dramatically titled articles like this one, typical of today’s world, announcing “the Battle inside Signal,” suggest that the platform and the company behind it are also criticized from within – for their reported unwillingness to implement a “content policy.”
The source behind this reporting are said to be leaked screenshots of internal discussions and interviews with current and former employees, that disclose pride for building a privacy-friendly company – while at the same time “willfully dismissing concerns over the potential misuses of its service.”
Once again, a distinction is made between “good and bad” activism. Signal is praised for its privacy guarantees when it helps “progressive” journalists communicate, and the same brand of activists organize, including to protest. But when the app was starting to be used by Trump supporters during the campaign, this set off alarm bells among the likes of the now former Signal employee, Gregg Bernstein.
Bernstein is the only named source of this inside criticism (and a former Vox Media colleague of the author of the piece.) His concern: that Signal is not doing enough to preemptively block participation of those seen as abusing Signal.
The article also tries to explain why Signal is “not doing enough” to further censorship, by blaming its need for growth and even its business model – even though it’s a non-profit that does not collect or sell user data or depend on the advertising industry and tracking like its giant competitors.