Telegram has always been one of the more popular messaging apps especially for those who believe privacy and protecting their data is important. Normally they would get 1.5 million new users every day but these past few days they are getting more than the usual. In fact, in the past 72 hours, they have gained 25 million new users according to Telegram CEO and founder Pavel Durov. This means that they have more than 500 million monthly active users as of the first week of January. They probably have WhatsApp to thank for this sudden surge of users.

If you didn’t know it yet, WhatsApp rolled out a new privacy policy which basically forces users to share their user data with parent company Facebook. And if they didn’t want to do so, then they can leave the platform. Well it looks like a lot of users are choosing the latter option as apps like Telegram and Signal are seeing a sudden, significant surge of new users signing app. Both those apps use end-to-end encryption and are pretty zealous about protecting their users’ data.

Durov noted in a blog post that this is an unusual surge for them throughout the 7 years that they have been around. And while he did not particularly name WhatsApp, his words obviously are referring to the Faceboook-owned messaging app. He stated that people no longer want to sacrifice their privacy just to be able to get free services. He criticized “tech monopolies” that have been getting away with holding users hostage just to be able to get a “critical mass of users.”

WhatsApp has been doing a bit of face-saving by clarfiying that their updated privacy policy will not affect the privacy of the messages that users send to friends or family. That part of the platform will still retain end-to-end encryption. What is changing is the way users message a business on WhatsApp which is optional. They also insisted they are providing further transparency on how they collect and use data.

But either way, it looks like people have had enough of WhatsApp and would rather go to apps like Telegram. Durov assures users that they are the top priority of the company especially since they don’t have shareholders or advertisers. “Telegram is an idea; it is the idea that everyone on this planet has a right to be free,” he emphasized.


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