New world. How ‘alternative’ social networks benefit from the Trump and WhatsApp phenomena


illustration of the Signal application (January 11, 2021).
illustration of the Signal application (January 11, 2021). (ARNAUD JOURNOIS / MAXPPP)

This is the consequence of a double phenomenon. On the one hand, Donald Trump banned from Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, etc. On the other, WhatsApp which announces that user data will soon be shared with its parent company Facebook. As a result, thousands of users flock to other social networks. These are called Signal, Parler or Gab.

In a few days, the Signal application has thus become number 1 in downloads on the App Store and the Google Play Store, probably taken by storm by WhatsApp users afraid that the ogre Facebook will not all aspire to their data (phone numbers, names, contacts, etc.), from February 8.


As for Donald Trump’s supporters, they first flocked to Parler, a platform known to be a haven for the ultra-right. But Amazon, which hosted Parler, decided to shut down its servers and, suddenly, the newcomers fell back to another pro-Trump network, called Gab. We could also talk about the Russian Telegram application, which reportedly registered 25 million new users in three days.

How far will this game of communicating vessels go? We will see, in a while, whether these giants that were believed to be unconquerable really suffer from these exoduses.

However, the two phenomena are quite distinct. When it comes to the Trump case, its most radicalized supporters are now seen as a threat in the United States, and it’s a cat-and-mouse game that has begun. When it comes to WhatsApp, the fear of some users seems indicative of an awareness of their personal data, which the Facebook group’s management may not have measured.


Moreover, today, the group’s management is trying to reassure, in particular European users who are not concerned by data sharing thanks to the GDPR, to use WhatsApp to dialogue with companies (eg: merchant sites).

Finally, other players could also benefit from this commotion, such as the French social networks Whaller, an alternative to Facebook, or even Olvid or Skred, two applications identical to WhatsApp, which allow communication in complete confidentiality.



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