PROTECTING MESSAGING APPS — Too often, consideration of point-to-point messaging platforms in the United States is focused on either diaspora or second-language usage, given the global popularity of these platforms. Another common focus is on extremist or unlawful usage.
In reality, a broad swath of Americans use point-to-point platforms, the popularity of which is increasing, but that usage remains at a lower rate when compared to that in other regions of the world. An estimated 69 percent of the United States population currently uses at least one point-to-point messaging app, though the use and dynamics of this part of the information ecosystem remain understudied.
The Digital Forensic Research Lab (DFRLab) undertook this project to better understand and contextualize point-to-point platform usage in the United States with two goals: first, to analyze the growing use of these platforms in the United States; and, second, to emphasize the growing importance of rights respecting— and protecting—elements of some platforms, such as end-to-end encryption as an important technology at the core of designing for data privacy and free speech.
ORIGINAL AIRDATE: 08/29/2023