Messaging app Telegram today hit 500 million users, a milestone the company had been inching towards slowly ever since it crossed 400 million users back in 2020. While it was always going to get here inevitably, the company attributed this growth to massive uptake over the past 72 hours, with more than 25 million new users signing up within that time frame.
It’s very likely that this is a direct response to the backlash against Facebook over its new terms of service for WhatsApp. The company last week issued a notice tying the user data closer to its parent company in countries outside of Europe. Facebook later issued statement after statement to assuage people’s fears, but this has failed to deter the mass uptake of rival services like Telegram and Signal.
Telegram for its part has promised to remain private and free in the long-term even as the company moved towards monetizing its product.
Writing in Telegram, CEO Pavel Durov specifically called out WhatsApp as an example of a path he did not want to go down on:
We are not going to sell the company like the founders of Whatsapp. The world needs Telegram to stay independent as a place where users are respected and high-quality service is ensured. Telegram must continue to serve the world as an example of a tech company that strives for perfection and integrity. And, as the sad examples of our predecessors show, that is impossible if you become part of a corporation.
Have you switched to Telegram from WhatsApp? Let us know in the comments below.