Privacy-focused messaging app Signal said it had launched an in-app sustainer program to accept donations from its users.
The company said that while the model for conventional technology companies incentivizes them to build products for users’ data rather than for them, Signal’s nonprofit structure is designed so that the only way value can accrue is in the experience of using the app.
“This also means that as the sole beneficiaries of Signal, it is up to the people using Signal to sustain it,” the company said in a blog post.
“This is a different model from the way most people experience tech on the Internet — which is generally sustained by using data for the benefit of the largest shareholders — but we believe that changing this paradigm is necessary for a future where technology ultimately serves us all better,” it added.
Users can now join the community of people sustaining Signal by contributing a small amount each month, which unlocks a badge they can display on their profile.
The badge helps to spread awareness of how Signal works, how it is sustained, and how people can participate.
In addition to sustaining Signal, users can now also give Signal a boost at any time.
“We have designed this process to be privacy-preserving, ensuring that your payment information isn’t associated with your Signal account,” the company said.