There is now a new president of Signal. The organization behind the encrypted messaging service selected Meredith Whittaker, a former Google manager and co-founder of the AI Now Institute, for the newly formed post.
Whittaker herself made the news in a blog post for Signal in which she described the strategic nature of the position and how it will guide the company toward long-term sustainability.
As president, I’m committed to helping Signal develop in dynamic contexts, Whittaker stated. “In this role, I’ll work with Signal’s CEO and leadership to drive strategy, ensure financial sustainability, refine and grow public communications, and develop the app and organization.
Whittaker is a technology researcher who organized a Google walkout in 2018 to protest sexual harassment allegations against top executives.
At Google, she advocated for ethical AI and co-founded the AI Now Institute at NYU.
Whittaker departed Google in 2019 after claiming retaliation for internal activism. Most recently, he joined the FTC as a senior consultant on AI in November 2021.
Signal is in transition when Whittaker becomes president. In the same year Signal’s originator, Moxie Marlinspike resigned as CEO, and worries linger regarding the project’s longevity.
The business created the open-source Signal Protocol for end-to-end encrypted messages, which WhatsApp has used since 2016.
Digging Into More Details
As a standalone app, Signal has 40 million users, a quarter of WhatsApp’s 2 billion, but enough to be a major competitor in communications.
Last year, employees stated Signal needed 100 million users to be self-sustaining. Despite the app’s tremendous expansion in recent years, firm employees are concerned about a lack of resources to deal with abusive use.
Whittaker told Washington Post that more people will pay for the app. Whittaker said development and upkeep cost “tens of millions of dollars a year,” and recovering those expenses without data collection will be difficult.