WhatsApp privacy fears means Telegram becoming next ‘go to’ messaging app

Encrypted messaging app Telegram has joined the likes of TikTok, Twitter, and Netflix by becoming one of only fifteen apps to be downloaded more than a billion times.

According to app store analysts Sensor Tower, it passed the milestone over the weekend, fuelled by a boom in downloads in its key markets of India, Russia, and Indonesia.

The app reportedly had 214.7 million downloads in the first half of 2020 – a 61% increase on the same period in 2020. Its active userbase, meanwhile, is estimated to be around 500 million.

Telegram saw a boom in popularity earlier this year following announcements that the popular WhatsApp planned to drastically alter its privacy policy.

Although the proposed changes would have retained the encryption that keeps user messages private, they sparked a mass exodus from the Facebook-owned messenger app towards Telegram and another competitor app called Signal.

The changes to WhatsApp were indefinitely postponed, but it seems that Telegram has still reaped the benefits from this confusion.

Securely encrypted messaging apps are popular worldwide, but particularly among activists, protestors, and anyone else wishing to keep their interactions anonymous – including criminals.

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Telegram is a free app originally created by Russian brothers Nikolai and Pavel Durov. Once considered the 'Mark Zuckerbergs of Russia', the brothers started their career with VK, a Russian social network inspired by Facebook.

After VK was taken over by allies of Vladimir Putin, the Durov brothers went to live in exile in the West Indies, where they created Telegram.

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