Messaging app takes on Skype, WhatsApp with killer advertising


SOMA wants to grow its users for security reasons.
SOMA wants to grow its users for security reasons.
Photo: SOMA

If you are unfamiliar with the messaging app SOMA, you will soon learn about them through a confrontational advertising campaign that implores people to give up on Skype, WhatsApp and Viber.

It’s for your own good, the company says.

SOMA Messenger encrypts data end-to-end and auto-deletes messages, its team declaring the app to be the most secure in the space. It also allows up to 500 people for group chats and up to four in group video or voice calls.

SOMA had a soft launch in the U.S. in November after getting millions of downloads earlier last year in other parts of the globe. On Monday, SOMA began displaying adds on some 90 news racks in San Francisco, telling people to “Say No: to Skype, to What’sApp, to Viber. Say Yes to SOMA.”

It also plans to advertise on cable television, print, billboards and conduct guerrilla marketing on college campuses.

Encrypted data has been a hot topic and has Washington and the tech community at lager heads. The government wants backdoor access to encrypted data to aid security-related investigations, like preventing terror groups from striking. ISIS attackers reportedly used another encrypted messaging service to plan the Nov. 13 attacks on Paris.

But others, like Apple CEO Tim Cook, have taken stands against the White House, arguing privacy is a critical concern among users of electronic devices.

SOMA is “on the same page of what Tim Cook of Apple has said,” said SOMA CEO Lei Guo. “We can not allow the acts of the minority reduce the liberties of the majority.”

While the interface is simple to use and servers placed around the globe gives SOMA a stable connection, privacy will be at the heart of the SOMA campaign.


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