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Used at top MBA programs including
Stanford Graduate School of Business
University of Chicago Booth School of Business
Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania
Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University
Summary
  • Recent events – such as account restrictions stemming from the US Capitol riots, and WhatsApp’s privacy update enabling data-sharing with Facebook (now delayed) – have resulted in tens of millions of users looking for alternatives to the leading messaging apps.
  • These events have caused the user bases of alternative encrypted-messaging apps Signal and Telegram to “explode.” Telegram, for instance, added 125M+ users in Jan 2021 to reach 525M+ monthly active users.
  • For messaging apps, there is a clear tradeoff between features and privacy. When all the interactions on an app are end-to-end encrypted and very little metadata is captured, the data can’t be the business model – so the options are mainly paid subscriptions or donations. As a result, many messaging apps are tying their business models to the parts of their service that are not end-to-end encrypted, from advertising to social commerce.
  • Encrypted-messaging apps are becoming major channels for propaganda and misinformation. Russia, for instance, lifted its ban on Telegram last year and the app is now used by state-sponsored outlets to disseminate propaganda. “Information operations” are being deployed in private groups and public channels all over the world.
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