WhatsApp rival, Telegram, has seen over 500% increase in new users amid widespread dissatisfaction with the way Facebook-owned app handles people’s data. Telegram has recorded more than 25 million new users over the last one week, according to founder Pavel Durov, taking the total number of users above 500 million.
Durov, who has frequently criticized WhatsApp’s approach to user privacy in the past, wrote on his Telegram channel on Tuesday last week that the latest surge in new users was the most significant in the company’s seven-year history.
“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,” he wrote. “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. We won’t let you down.”
Durov added that since launching in August 2013, Telegram “hasn’t disclosed a single byte of our users’ private data to third parties”.
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Other rival messaging apps also saw an uptick in new users this week, including Signal, which was briefly overwhelmed by the influx of new downloads. Telegram enjoys a competitive edge in the sense that users do not require the mobile phone to be connected to the internet to work, the app has gained loyal users by offering a variety of features, including folders and cloud storage.
According to July Global Statshot Report 2020, social media users have grown by more than 10% over the past year, taking the global total to 3.96 billion by the start of July 2020. This means that – for the first time – more than half of the world’s population now uses social media, with more people using social media than not.
Social media power
Growth trends indicate that an average of more than one million people started using social media for the first time every single day over the past 12 months, equating to almost 12 new users every second. What’s more, the pace of growth appears to have accelerated in recent months, despite the global total having already passed the halfway mark.
COVID-19-related lockdowns may have played a role in this increased adoption.