Facebook has dominated app-based messaging for the last five years with its homegrown Messenger services and WhatsApp, which it bought in 2014. During this time would-be rivals like Signal and Telegram have largely failed to break out beyond a niche group of privacy-based users — but, in the last six months, all that has changed. Indeed, the number of monthly downloads of Telegram and Signal has skyrocketed since October and, in January, surpassed the popular Facebook apps.
The encrypted messaging services have become the world’s hottest apps over the last week, driven by growing anxiety over the power of the biggest tech companies and privacy concerns.
NBC News is joining the parade of traditional news outlets trying to capture the interest of a rising generation of news junkies who get their fix with mobile devices and streaming video. The network has been testing shows, including two hosted by Steve Kornacki.