Bengaluru: Some of India's top entrepreneurs are joining a chorus of technology industry leaders in Silicon Valley, pushing for users to quit WhatsApp and join Signal, a messaging service backed by WhatsApp co-founder Brian Acton. These reactions follow WhatsApp updating its privacy policy and terms of service to share more user data with its parent Facebook.

Prominent members of the Indian startup ecosystem took to Twitter on Monday to announce their migration from personal and professional groups in WhatsApp to Signal.

Among those advocating such a move were PhonePe's co-founder and chief executive Sameer Nigam, who tweeted: "Product wise, Signal has arrived. Moved 1000+ PhonePe-rs to Signal. Recreated all my work groups. Moved my family groups."

@kunalb11 This time is diff. Product wise, Signal has arrived! Moved 1000+ @PhonePe-rs to Signal. Recreated all m... https://t.co/dqEjCGhAUy— Sameer.Nigam (@_sameernigam) [email protected] @PhonePe FWIW, most of my work contacts (other entrepreneurs, partners, media, bankers etc) are already o... https://t.co/JTVagAkgaT— Sameer.Nigam (@_sameernigam) 1610346221000
Nigam had adopted the app prior to the Covid-19 pandemic, he added. He also noted that most of his work contacts including other entrepreneurs, partners, and bankers are already on Signal. "Zero switching cost. Just retain your WhatsApp account (like your old 90s Hotmail account) to reference old threads," Nigam said.

Paytm founder and chief executive Vijay Shekhar Sharma also chimed in with his views on the micro-blogging platform. "They say, market has power. We are the largest market. Here in India WhatsApp / Facebook are abusing their monopoly and taking away millions of users' privacy for granted. We should move on to @signalapp NOW. It is upto us to become victims or reject such moves," he said.

They say, market has power. We are the largest market. Here in India WhatsApp / Facebook are abusing their monopol... https://t.co/99QsznJQJ8— Vijay Shekhar Sharma (@vijayshekhar) 1610343655000
For the record, PhonePe and Paytm compete with WhatsApp for market dominance in India's burgeoning digital payments market.

And Sharma of Paytm has been vocal about tackling the dominance of big tech companies in India in the past as well. On Monday, he endorsed former Facebook executive Chamath Palihapitiya's tweet that said, "Starting in Feb, WhatsApp will begin sharing all kinds of data with Facebook. They just killed their best feature - privacy. Please no longer text me on WhatsApp. Download @signalapp."

Starting in Feb, WhatsApp will begin sharing all kinds of data with Facebook. They just killed their best feature -... https://t.co/RGOn0pYrfV— Chamath Palihapitiya (@chamath) 1610293989000
The move to Signal was triggered by a tweet from Tesla and SpaceX founder Elon Musk who asked people to switch to the messaging app last week.

Use Signal— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) 1610024170000
The privacy-focused messaging app said this also led to a "giant spike" in its app installs. The app has also been endorsed by whistleblower Edward Snowden as well as Twitter chief executive Jack Dorsey in recent past.

Signal saw 2,200 installs on India's app stores last Wednesday, up 38% from 1,600 installs in the week ended December 30, according to mobile intelligence firm Sensor Tower. Signal saw about 51,000 installs in December, up 11% from 46,000 in November.

Cred's Kunal Shah however had a differing view, saying that "Network effects is like a religion. Most people like to stay in what they were born in. Trying to leave WhatsApp is as futile as adopting a new language to communicate between the same folks." Shah said that "Social media has shelf life as people like to move to cooler places but messengers are not a product to display status."

Signal or Telegram won't win unless it's Delta 4 to WhatsApp. Network effects is like a religion. Most people lik... https://t.co/Gcew2maZMG— Kunal Shah (@kunalb11) 1610360901000
Trying to leave whatsapp is as futile as adopting a new language to communicate between same folks. Feels cool fo... https://t.co/FOi8gu8m6Y— Kunal Shah (@kunalb11) 1610262247000
Kavin Bharti Mittal, founder of WhatsApp rival Hike, noted that global network effects are too strong for India to have its own messenger. He said that Signal and Telegram have the "right incentives as entities" for consumers unlike Facebook's products.

India won't have its own messenger. Global network effects are too strong (unless India bans Western companies)... https://t.co/QiAdTXRbRU— Kavin Bharti Mittal (@kavinbm) 1610289844000
Hike, which counts Tencent and Tiger Global among its investors, is winding down its messenger app later this month, to focus on other social products like mobile gaming platform Rush and virtual hangout platform Vibe.