Signal CEO steps down, WhatsApp co-founder takes over — Action News Now

CEO of encrypted messenger app linked to U.S. government says he feels ‘comfortable to replace himself’


Brian Acton, co-founder of Facebook subsidiary WhatsApp, has been tapped to succeed Moxie Marlinspike as CEO of Signal, a popular encrypted messaging app with funding ties to the U.S. State Department.

According to Marlinspike (real name Matthew Rosenfeld), who founded the app in 2013, Acton was previously Signal’s executive chairman, and he took over on an interim basis. Although the founder claims he now feels “very comfortable“Based on the team they have in place to replace themselves as CEO, and having met with multiple CEO candidates over the past few months, no one has yet emerged to replace him.


Signal’s resources have grown significantly in 2018, with Acton fresh from Facebook with $50 million in start-up capital, four years after the social media giant acquired WhatsApp. Although Marlinspike insists that Signal “no way [took] Venture capital or seek investment,” the app was developed with multi-million dollar funding from the Open Technology Fund, itself a spin-off of Radio Free Asia, which operates under the umbrella of the United States Global Media Agency (USAGM). One of several U.S. national propaganda channels aimed at promoting Washington’s interests abroad.

The OTF (and expanded signaling) is reportedly part of an Obama-era State Department initiative to “Deploy ‘shadow’ internet and cell phone systems that dissidents can use to undermine authoritarian governments. ”

As a result, Signal has been very popular in regime change movements abroad, perhaps most notably in Hong Kong. San Francisco-based encrypted messaging platform has “million‘, according to Marlinspike.


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