Telegram, a cloud-based mobile and desktop messaging app, has witnessed tremendous growth in the number of active users amid a controversial update to WhatsApp’s terms and conditions.

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In a statement on Tuesday, Pavel Durov, CEO of Telegram, said the app surpassed 500 million active users in the first week of January while 25 million new users from across the different continents joined in the last three days.

“In the first week of January, Telegram surpassed 500 million monthly active users. After that it kept growing: 25 million new users joined Telegram in the last 72 hours alone. These new users came from across the globe – 38% from Asia, 27% from Europe, 21% from Latin America and 8% from MENA,” he wrote.

“This is a significant increase compared to last year, when 1.5M new users signed up every day. We’ve had surges of downloads before, throughout our 7-year history of protecting user privacy. But this time is different.”

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He added that Telegram provides a platform where the security and privacy of users are not jeopardized because people value their privacy.

“People no longer want to exchange their privacy for free services. They no longer want to be held hostage by tech monopolies that seem to think they can get away with anything as long as their apps have a critical mass of users,” he added.

“With half a billion active users and accelerating growth, Telegram has become the largest refuge for those seeking a communication platform committed to privacy and security. We take this responsibility very seriously. We won’t let you down.”

The development comes at about the same time when WhatsApp, one of Telegram’s rivals, faced widespread backlash after it announced a new privacy policy in which users will have to let Facebook and its subsidiaries collect its data, like phone numbers and locations.

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“We want to be clear that the policy update does not affect the privacy of your messages with friends or family in any way. Instead, this update includes changes related to messaging a business on WhatsApp, which is optional, and provides further transparency about how we collect and use data,” the message read.

The Facebook-owned platform also told its over 2 billion users that the new privacy policy will go into effect on February 8.

Quite a number of users, however, decided to switch to one of the many alternatives and rivals out there like Telegram and Signal.

Telegram, which was launched in October 2013 for IOS and Android devices, provides end-to-end encrypted calls and optional end-to-end encrypted “secret” chats between two online users on smartphone clients, unlike the cloud chats which use client-server/server-client encryption.

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TheCable Lifestyle had reported how Signal witnessed a huge surge in downloads across the world following endorsements from Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla, who doubles as the world’s richest man; and Jack Dorsey, Twitter CEO.

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