New Delhi: Data acquired from mobile analytics firm Sensor Tower has revealed that WhatsApp downloads in India witnessed a massive 80% fall between October 26-November 3, from the previous nine-day period. The said period also coincided with revelations that Israeli surveillance firm NSO snooped on 1,400 people from across four continents, including Indian human rights activists, lawyers, journalists etc.

According to the data, the number of WhatsApp downloads in India between October 26-November 3 was 1.8 million, while the number of downloads in the preceding period, i.e October 17-25, was 8.9 million.

The loss for WhatsApp, however, turned into an ‘opportunity’ for Signal and Telegram apps. While Signal downloads rose by a massive 63% to 9,600, the numbers for Telegram rose 10% to 9,20,000, in the same period. Signal, in particular, achieved a position of 39 on the iOS app store on November, up from 105 from a week ago. Similarly, on Google Play, it reached 31 on November 1, up by a staggering 255 spots from its position a week ago.

The Facebook-owned WhatsApp is India’s biggest market with 400 million users.

In the WhatsApp row, the central government has been accused of ordering snooping on ‘dissenters,’ a charge it has denied. It has asked WhatsApp for an explanation, which, in turn, has said that it alerted the government twice about the hacks.

The issue has now turned political with allegations that opposition leaders like Priyanka Gandhi, Mamata Banerjee, Praful Patel etc. were snooped upon. Patel, however, has denied that his phone was hacked.