Rival platforms like Signal and Telegram are reportedly seeing a surge in downloads in the wake of the development.
This kickstarted a spate of conversations and memes on the internet over WhatsApp's alleged sharing of user information with Facebook.
It all started after Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk publicly endorsed the app urging all to use it.
Use Signal— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) January 7, 2021
Even Anand Mahindra, the chairman of Mahindra Group, signed up for the Signal messaging app, being dubbed as a secure alternative to the Facebook-owned WhatsApp.
"Have installed Signal messaging. Maybe soon there will be a #signalwonderbox," tweeted Mahindra.
Have installed Signal messaging. Maybe soon there will be a #signalwonderbox— anand mahindra (@anandmahindra) January 10, 2021
On Saturday, Facebook-owned WhatsApp said its latest update - which has received criticism from a multitude of users globally - describes business communication and does not change its data-sharing practices with the social media giant.
It also stated that users will have to agree to the new terms and policy by February 8, 2021, in order to continue using WhatsApp''s service.
Meanwhile, Telegram founder and CEO Pavel Durov - in a blog - alleged that Facebook's WhatsApp has switched to covert marketing and it has detected bots that spread inaccurate information about Telegram on social media.
Durov also sought to clarify "myths" that are allegedly being pushed by WhatsApp about Telegram that has over 500 million users globally.
He said "myths" that Telegram''s code is not open-source, that the company is Russian and that the platform is not encrypted - are all incorrect.
Signal app too joined the conversation with its series of tweets. One of the tweets said: "Look at what you''ve done" and carried a picture of the app showing as the number one free app on the app stores across markets like India, Germany, France, Austria, Finland, Hong Kong and Switzerland.
Look at what you've done. 🇮🇳 pic.twitter.com/0YuqyZXtgP— Signal (@signalapp) January 8, 2021
In another tweet, it said: "There are no Terms of Service for a mother's love", taking a dig at the ongoing controversy.
All you need to know about Signal app:
Signal is a cross-platform encrypted messaging service developed by the Signal Foundation and Signal Messenger. It uses the Internet to send one-to-one and group messages, which can include files, voice notes, images and videos.
It can also be used to make one-to-one and group voice and video calls, and the Android version can optionally function as an SMS app.
Signal uses standard cellular telephone numbers as identifiers and secures all communications to other Signal users with end-to-end encryption.
The apps include mechanisms by which users can independently verify the identity of their contacts and the integrity of the data channel.
The non-profit Signal Foundation was launched in February 2018 with initial funding of $50 million from Brian Acton. Signal has more than 10 million downloads on Android.