The Story Of Signal.

And Trump wants Elon Musk to make him a social media platform

Good morning. Weirdly enough, CES 2021 — the first digital Consumer Electronics Show — hasn’t made any noise. There’s not even one tweet on my feed mentioning it. Except this:

In this Right Click 9: How the founder of WhatsApp started Signal. Tesla’s drive to India. Trump wants Elon to build him a social media. And what else Parler users were doing while posting violence-inciting posts.

The Story of Signal.

What’s happening with WhatsApp today is exactly why Brian Acton left Facebook and started Signal, a non-profit privacy-focused messaging app.

2009: After failing to get a job at Facebook and Twitter, Brian bought an iPhone and saw the growing industry of apps. Inspired, he launched WhatsApp with his friend Jan Koum on his birthday, 24 Feb.

2014: WhatsApp was growing so fast that it started competing with Facebook. So Facebook — as it always does — hurriedly convinced its co-founders to sell the company for $19B over a weekend. And Brian agreed, with his net worth now at $3.8B.

2017: Brian left Facebook when he differed on how WhatsApp should earn. He wanted a subscription-like business: you pay to use WhatsApp. But Facebook knew it wouldn’t bring them the most money, they wanted to go the advertising way: using WhatsApp to collect data about you to show you ads.

“I sold my users’ privacy to a larger benefit. I made a choice and a compromise. And I live with that every day.” says Brian.

2018: Brian tweeted #deletefacebook.

  • Sidenote: When buying WhatsApp, Facebook had to pass through the EU’s regulations. Brian says: “I was coached to explain [to EU] that it would be really difficult to merge or blend data between the two systems.” This was a lie. Facebook knew exactly how to merge data between the two platforms to mine data on WhatsApp and target ads on Facebook. (Facebook did get a $122M fine for that though.)

The Birth of Signal: After leaving Facebook, Brian donated $50M to Signal to “private communication accessible and ubiquitous” and started the non-profit Signal Foundation.

How Signal pays the bills: Donations. Brian wants to get people so excited about Signal that they donate $1 or ₹50. A billion users would mean a billion donars.

Future: Signal is fully focused on messaging. But will expand verticals possibly to emails and storage products.


Tesla drives into India.

Tesla registered itself in India on 8th January as Tesla Motors India and Energy Private Limited in Bengaluru. Elon Musk had already said Tesla was coming in early 2021. Here’s why this is a great opportunity:

  • PM Modi has been promoting production and use of electric vehicles to reduce India’s oil dependence and cut down on pollution.

  • And India plans to offer $4.6B in incentives to companies setting up advanced battery manufacturing facilities. (Reuters)

  • And finally, India has many Tesla fans.

BUT: Don’t expect Teslas on the road soon. It will take some times to install its supercharger network.


Trump wants Elon to build a social media that doesn’t block him

Backstory: Trump’s account was deleted on almost *all* social media accounts after he said Capitol Building attackers are “very special” to him.

Trump said: “If Elon musk can privately send people into space, I’m sure he can design a social network that isn’t biased.”

  • He wants a social network that takes care of hate speech and calls of violence with “actual neutral arbiters and fact-checkers.”

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Follow-up: Amazon attacks back

Previously on Right Click 8:

Parler sued Amazon for banning the platform for political reasons and to benefit Twitter saying it was “a coordinated attack by the tech giants to kill competition in the marketplace."

To this Amazon says: Parler violated Amazon’s Terms of Service by not moderating the content on the platform. Despite warning from Amazon in mid-November last year.

What happened in the US Capitol Building made this worse — Parler users incited violence.

While we’re on it: Someone collected location data of people posting on Parler during the Capitol Hill attack. And here’s a map view:

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