Following his announcement WhatsApp that will share user data with Facebook, the encrypted Telegram messaging app saw an explosive increase in its users, as 25 million new people registered in the last 72 hours.
The head of Telegram, Pavel Durov, said on his channel that the application had over 500 million monthly active users in the first weeks of January, while "25 million new users joined Telegram in the last 72 hours alone."
This sudden and sharp increase is largely due to the fact that WhatsApp, which has over two billion users, has introduced controversial changes to its privacy policies. These changes will allow platform to share more data with its parent company, Facebook.
"People no longer want to trade their privacy for free services", Said Durov without referring directly to the rival application.
According to the new WhatsApp policies, users outside Europe who will not accept the new terms before February 8, will be excluded from the messaging application. This move has provoked a storm of reactions.
Telegram is a popular social media platform in some countries, especially in the former Soviet Union and Iran, and is used for both private communications and the exchange of information and news.
As Durov said on Tuesday, Telegram has become the "biggest haven" for those looking for a private and secure communications platform and assured new users that his team "takes this responsibility very seriously".
Telegram was founded in 2013 by brothers Pavel and Nikolai Durov, who also founded the Russian social media network VKontakte.
Telegram refuses to cooperate with authorities and hand over encryption keys, resulting in a ban on the application in many countries, including Russia.
However Russia intends to lift the ban on the application, after two years of failed attempts to block it.