Earlier this month, an appeals court shut off Facebook’s WhatsApp messaging service in Brazil after a judge ordered the country’s wireless operators to block access to the service.
The ban was lifted after about 24 hours, but not before other messaging apps saw download surges as Brazilians looked for alternate ways to chat with friends and family.
One of those apps is Confide, a privacy-focused messaging app developed by a New York-based startup that boasts ephemeral messaging and screenshot protection as its top features.
“We saw a roughly 500% increase — six times — in Brazil downloads during the WhatsApp ban,” Confide cofounder Jon Brod told Business Insider. “An hour after the ban we saw a spike.”
Although mainstream messaging apps such as WhatsApp and Telegram now offer end-to-end encryption, Confide messages go one step further and disappear as soon as they’re read by their recipient. The app also has a “wanding” feature in which users read text by moving their finger over each line, which prevents screenshots from capturing more than a few words at a time.
On Monday, Confide is adding voice messaging to its app. The company says it will allow users to communicate sentiment that doesn’t usually come across in a text chat, and hopes that their business clients will adopt the feature to discuss potential deals, hiring, or other sensitive subjects.
Events like the Sony hack and the Brazil WhatsApp ban usually end up boosting Confide, Brod says. “I think people had an expectation of privacy and events like this accelerate that expectation.”
Confide’s voice messaging audio clips disappear after the chat window is closed, and are encrypted like the rest of Confide’s messages.
Here’s what it looks like:
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