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Telegram surpasses 500 million users after WhatsApp updates its privacy policy

Ankita Chakravarti     January 13, 2021

Telegram has witnessed a surge in users ever since WhatsApp's new privacy policy has come under the radar. The company has surpassed over 500 million users. Telegram CEO Pavel Durov said in his channel that 25 million new users joined Telegram in the last 72 hours. Users have migrated to Signal and Telegram as ambiguity around WhatsApp's new privacy policy refused to settle.

"In the first week of January, Telegram surpassed 500 million monthly active users. After that it kept growing: 25 million new users joined Telegram in the last 72 hours alone. These new users came from across the globe 38% from Asia, 27% from Europe, 21% from Latin America, and 8% from MENA. This is a significant increase compared to last year when 1.5M new users signed up every day. We've had surges of downloads before, throughout our 7-year history of protecting user privacy. But this time is different," Durov shared on his Telegram channel.

Telegram witnessed a surge in users after WhatsApp updated its privacy policy. With little clarity over what the new policies mean, users across the globe cut chords with WhatsApp and migrated to other messaging apps that appeared to be more secure than WhatsApp.

Taking a sly dig at WhatsApp for its new policies, Pavel wrote in his channel, "People no longer want 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. Unlike other popular apps, Telegram doesn't have shareholders or advertisers to report to. 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."

However, WhatsApp in his defense issued a clarification and answered some of the most-asked questions. The Facebook-owned messaging app has said that policy update does not affect users' privacy with friends or family.
WhatsApp has said that the messaging app can neither see your private messages nor hear your calls, and neither can Facebook. It does not keep logs of who everyone is messaging or calling. The Facebook-owned messaging app cannot see your shared location, and neither can Facebook.

Interestingly, WhatsApp is set to garner over 500 million users in India despite facing a backlash.

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