Signal reveals how much it costs to run it

Signal, the popular messaging app, has revealed that it currently spends $14 million on infrastructure and might need a lot more to cover costs in the coming years.

Signal Foundation, the nonprofit behind the privacy-focused messaging app, said it wants to remain focused exclusively on privacy without outside pressures forcing it to make sacrifices – underscoring the importance of donations.

“To put it bluntly, as a nonprofit, we don’t have investors or profit-minded board members knocking during hard times, urging us to “sacrifice a little privacy” in the name of hitting growth and monetary targets,” the foundation said.

However, millions of dollars are still needed for the app to operate. The foundation estimates that by 2025, it will spend around $50 million every year to keep Signal running.

Signal also revealed detailed costs of maintaining the app. For example, the foundation currently said that it’s spending around $14 million to maintain the app’s infrastructure.

Signal infrastructure
Signal's infrastructure maintenance costs.

The foundation did not mince words when discussing its less privacy-oriented competition. For example, Signal said that most companies collect as much data as possible, and when “their unquenchable thirst for more of your private information” exceeds capacity, data storage warehouses, the so-called data lakes, are created.

The foundation said that even though it only stores encrypted messages for short periods in temporary queues, the storage costs still cost the company $1.3 million.

The nonprofit revealed that it’s spending close to $19 million annually to pay for 50 full-time employees, maintaining and developing the app.

“Our goal is to compensate our staff at as close to industry wages as possible within the boundaries of a nonprofit organization,” the foundation admitted.

The foundation said it aims to continue developing a private open-source messenger supported by small donations.

“The social costs of normalized privacy invasion are staggeringly high, and maintaining and caring for alternative technology has never been more important,” the foundation said.

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