Telegram said Wednesday it added 25 million new users in the last 72 hours, around the same period that Facebook moved to integrate the messaging functions on its platforms including Messenger and WhatsApp.
In just three days, Dubai-based Telegram, which brands itself as more secure, added more users that is equivalent to roughly twice the population of Metro Manila, or around the same size as Delhi in India.
Telegram notified users of the user milestone and thanked them for inviting their friends to migrate to the platform. "If you have contacts that joined in the last few days, you can welcome them using one of Telegram’s unique features, such as an animated sticker or a video message."
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What's happening at WhatsApp?
WhatsApp asked its some two billion users on Jan. 8 to accept new terms that will allow it to share more information with Facebook and roll out advertising and e-commerce.
The update sparked criticism among users as they must accept the changes or see their access to the service -- which also allows encrypted voice and video calls -- cut off from Feb. 8.
Facebook aims to monetize WhatsApp by allowing businesses to contact their clients via the platform, even sell them products directly using the service as they already do in India.
"All users need to accept the new terms of service if they want to continue using WhatsApp," added the spokesperson.
What makes Telegram different?
Telegram debuted on iOS in 2013, developed out of St. Petersburg in Russia. Its developers, led by Pavel Durov, shifted Telegram's operations overseas to escape Moscow's strict regulations, eventually settling in Dubai.
Users of Telegram immediately notice slicker animations compared to other apps. It's cloud based and give users unlimited media storage for up to 2GB per file, according to its website. Groups can have as many as 200,000 members.
Telegram listed two privacy principles on its website: "We don't use your data to show you ads." Also, "We only store the data that Telegram needs to function as a secure and feature-rich messaging service."
Privacy advocates said the integration of WhatsApp into the Messenger behemoth would allow previously restricted WhatsApp data to be used for advertising, in the same way that it is done on Messenger.
Telegram does not require users to declare their real names, only their phone numbers, which they can use to log in and use their account on multiple devices.
-- with reports from Agence France-Presse