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Telegram surpasses 500 million active users, yesterday alone 25 million

New Straits Times logo New Straits Times 13/1/2021 Irfan Izzuddin
graphical user interface, text, application, chat or text message: File pic. © Provided by New Straits Times File pic.

KUALA LUMPUR: Encrypted messaging app Telegram has surpassed 500 million monthly active users in the first week of January with 25 million new users joining the instant messaging application in the last 72 hours alone.

Telegram founder Pavel Durov said there was a significant increase in new users as compared to last year where 1.5 million new users signed up every day.

He said the demographic of Telegram's recently joined users was 38 per cent from Asia, 27 per cent from Europe, 21 per cent from Latin America and eight per cent from MENA ( Middle East and North Africa).

"We've had surges of downloads before, throughout our seven-year history of protecting user privacy but this time it is different," he said on his official 'Durov's channel' on Telegram yesterday (Jan 12).

When explaininng further about the app's features, Durov, 36, said people no longer wanted to exchange their privacy for free services.

"They no longer want to be held hostage by tech monopolies that seem to think they can get away with anything as long as their apps have a critical mass of users," said Durov.

"With half a billion active users and accelerating growth, Telegram has become the largest refuge for those seeking a communication platform committed to privacy and security.

"We take this responsibility very seriously, our users have been and will always be our only priority."

Durav said Telegram does not have shareholders or advertisers to report to unlike other popular apps.

"We don't do deals with marketers, data miners or government agencies.

"Since the day we launched in August 2013 we haven't disclosed a single byte of our users' private data to third parties," he said.

The surge in Telegram active users came after WhatsApp's new privacy policy was called into question as the new terms allows WhatsApp the right to share data it collects about the user with other Facebook companies. (Facebook and WhatsApp are owned by the same company).

The conversations on WhatsApp are encrypted between the end-to-end user, but a user's contacts list, location and financial information can be collected as data by WhatsApp.

© New Straits Times Press (M) Bhd

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