Signal usernames will keep your phone number private

Instant messaging app Alarm is best known for its privacy settings, although phone numbers have been the heart of the platform since its inception, until now there was no way to completely hide your number. Early today, Signal announced you’ll soon be able to create a unique username (not to be confused with your profile name) that you can share with others via a link or QR code, unlike sharing your number. You’ll be able to change your unique username as many times as you want, but as part of Signal’s anti-fraud efforts, it must have two or more numbers at the end. You can even delete your username completely, as this is an optional feature.

Of course, you’ll still need a phone number to sign up for Signal, but note that with the new default, your number will no longer be visible to everyone (you can manually change this setting if needed). There will also be a new option to prevent people from finding you by your number; To do this, they must have your exact unique username. In other words, people who already know your number won’t know you’re on Signal either, which is a good thing if you prefer to remain anonymous in the platform’s public groups.

As with any new feature, spammers and scammers will eventually find a way to abuse usernames because you won’t be able to verify their numbers right away. Tip: when you see new contacts who appear to be acquaintances, always check with them by other means – preferably in person or at least with a phone call. You can notice or get an early taste of these new Signal features in a few weeks beta release

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