Telegram now has over half a billion monthly active users

Another year, another messing up by Facebook and another gain by Telegram… That is what appears to be happening to the messenger application that has been an alternative to the popular Facebook-backed app for years.

Despite being feature-rich and developer-friendly, Telegram has, for long, operated under the shadow of its more famous and popular competitor.

However, those days are increasingly looking to be behind it.

Last week, WhatsApp users woke up to this notice on their phones:

Not many have been too pleased with the apparent assault on their privacy by a company that is infamous for taking and taking but hardly giving when it comes to privacy matters.

The end result? A social media movement that has seen calls to move to alternative non-Facebook-backed platforms. These calls have also roped in secure messaging app Signal which appears to be the darling of the who’s who in tech, lead by entrepreneur Elon Musk.

Signal, which lays claim to end-to-end encryption for all messaging activity on the app, has seen the highest number of installs ever in the week following WhatsApp’s announcement of its new terms and policy.

Telegram, as revealed by its founder Durov on his Telegram channel, has netted over 25 million new users in the last 72 hours alone. Overall, the app has surpassed an important milestone: 500 million monthly active users.

Monthly active users are the number of users who have used a service over a 30-day period.

Telegram’s last major MAU milestone was in April last year when it crossed the 400 million users mark.

“These new users came from across the globe – 38% from Asia, 27% from Europe, 21% from Latin America and 8% from MENA,” Durov’s post on the channel adds.

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The last big migration to Telegram from WhatsApp happened nearly 2 years ago when Facebook services, including WhatsApp, went down for over 12 hours.

3 years earlier, a significant migration happened when WhatsApp was temporarily banned by a court in Brazil, a country where the messaging app is extremely popular.

Before that, Telegram’s big break over WhatsApp had come in February 2014 when WhatsApp was acquired by Facebook with many defecting to the then relatively unknown app for fears that WhatsApp’s acquisition by Facebook would result in a compromise on privacy standards, something that, it can be argued, is unfolding at this very moment.

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