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February 21, 2024
Signal launches new feature to keep cell numbers private

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Signal is launching a new username privacy feature to allow users to connect without having to share personal phone numbers.

The American instant messaging app has lauded the upgrade, currently in beta, which will enable users to create a unique username as their point of contact.

Signal, thought to be used by more than 40 million people, sets itself apart thanks to its thorough end-to-end encryption service as well as its independent company structure. The non-profit organization is run by a foundation with no direct ties to big tech. Previously, Signal has been the communication tool of choice for activists, hackers, and others concerned about privacy and the prying eyes of authority.

A phone number will still be required to register on the app but the ability to keep it hidden is another credential for Signal and its growing reputation as one of the most secure messaging services. It also closes a loophole that hackers could take advantage of, by accessing the phone number at carrier level to access messages and content on the app.

The company blog written by Chief Product Officer Randall Sarafa stated, “Signal’s mission and sole focus is private communication.”

“For years, Signal has kept your messages private, your profile information private, your contacts private, and your groups private – among much else.”

“Now we’re taking that one step further, by making your phone number on Signal more private.”

Introducing usernames and phone number privacy on Signal! We’re making it possible for people to connect with each other without having to share phone numbers. Now launching to beta users, available for everyone soon. https://t.co/YcBEyD1AIA

— Signal (@signalapp) February 20, 2024

Signal aims to enhance privacy features

The new username service will not work in the same way social media platforms operate. It will just be a key for connecting with others to chat and not a login or handle used for your identity on Signal.

When you create a username, you will still be able to set a profile name as whatever you wish. This will be what others see, your username will not be visible unless you have chosen to share it with another person.

Another key difference of this app is the absence of a searchable directory of usernames as you would find on X or Instagram. If someone wants to talk with you on Signal, they will need to know your exact username. Anyone who does not already have your phone number will have no access to it on Signal. Once you have set a username, it will no longer appear to others who you have already connected to, on the app (as long as they are running the latest version).

The default setting within personal or group chats is for your profile name and image to be displayed, but in your ‘Phone Number’ settings, you do have the option to allow other users to see your digits.

Image: Signal

The post Signal launches new feature to keep cell numbers private appeared first on ReadWrite.

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