Telegram said its user count increased by 25 million in the past 72 hours after WhatsApp announced a change to its privacy rules. Among these new users is the Turkish President in particular, according to his press service.
Nearly 25 million people have registered on the Telegram secure messaging service in the past 72 hours, Telegram founder Pavel Durov announced on Tuesday, January 12.
“These new users come from all over the world: 38% in Asia, 27% in Europe, 21% in Latin America, and 8% from the Middle East and North Africa,” said Durov on his blog.
According to him, “the number of active Telegram users exceeded 500 million per month” during the first week of January. This is a significant increase from last year when Telegram saw around 1.5 million new users per day.
“We’ve seen peaks in downloads throughout our seven-year history of protecting user privacy. But this time it’s different,” says Durov.
In his view, people no longer want to trade their privacy for free services and be “hostages” to technology monopolies who think “anything is allowed as long as their applications have a critical mass of users”.
“With half a billion active users and accelerating growth, Telegram has become the greatest haven for those looking for a communications platform focused on privacy and security. We take this responsibility very seriously. We will not let you down,” promised the founder of the service.
New WhatsApp rules involved?
Telegram’s broken registration records’ announcement comes shortly after competing WhatsApp’s January announcement of its intention to share more of its data with its parent company Facebook. According to the company Sensor Tower, the number of users of the secure messaging services Signal and Telegram has increased sharply after the WhatsApp update.
The British newspaper Telegraph had previously reported that Telegram had become the second most downloaded application in the United States following the blocking of Donald Trump’s Twitter and Facebook accounts, as well as the closure of the social network Parler, popular among supporters of the outgoing US President.
According to the Telegraph, Telegram was downloaded about 545,000 times between Wednesday, January 6, and Sunday, January 10, almost three times more than during the same period last week.
Turkish President among new Telegram users
President Erdogan has registered on Telegram, as well as on the BiP messaging service, the Turkish presidential administration announced on Tuesday, January 12.
“Our President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is now on BiP and Telegram,” it says in the message.
Mr Erdogan also launched this Tuesday, January 12, a channel on Telegram which already has more than 22,000 subscribers.
Many Turkish users, including high-ranking officials, have recently given up on using WhatsApp following the change in its privacy rules. The Turkish Antimonopoly Committee is investigating WhatsApp and Facebook, as the country’s authorities urge Turks to use Turkish messengers BiP and Dedi.