Telegram is experiencing a surge of new users as many WhatsApp users reconsider their loyalty to the Facebook-owned chat platform.
On Tuesday, Telegram sent users a message saying the service has surpassed 500 million active users, with 25 million new users joining in the past 72 hours alone.
Telegram CEO and founder Pavel Durov is also known as the founder of Russian social networking site VK, which he left in 2014 after seemingly clashing with Russian authorities over keeping customer data private.
On Tueday, Durov shared a little more data regarding Telegram’s recent milestone.
“These new users came from across the globe,” he wrote in his Telegram channel. “We’ve had surges of downloads before, throughout our 7-year history of protecting user privacy. But this time is different. People no longer want to exchange their privacy for free services.”
The boost in users may have something to do with a change in WhatsApp’s terms of service, which now state that the app will share certain categories of information with Facebook.
On Tuesday, WhatsApp clarified that the changes do not affect the privacy of users’ communication with friends and family, and that WhatsApp cannot see anyone’s private messages or hear their calls.
Dubai-based Telegram is one of several major WhatsApp competitors that emphasize user privacy. Signal has also recently seen a big influx of new users, possibly due to the changes in WhatsApp’s terms of service and an endorsement from Tesla CEO Elon Musk.
UPDATE: Weds, Jan. 13, 12:05 p.m. ET: This story has been updated to include the fact that Telegram does not remove illegal content from chats and private groups.
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