WhatsApp privacy policy caused the biggest digital migration ever – Telegram founder

WhatsApp privacy policy caused the biggest digital migration ever – Telegram founder

Facebook’s controversial WhatsApp December 2020 privacy policy change, which has been met with backlash from many of its users, has resulted in the biggest digital migration in history.

This is according to the founder of competing messaging service Telegram, which has recently seen a massive increase in users due to the development.

Telegram’s Pavel Durov claimed the app’s surge in users had accelerated even further following it passing 500 million users in the first week of January 2021.

With that milestone, Telegram reached a quarter of the number of users that WhatsApp had in 2020  – when it stood at 2 billion.

“We may be witnessing the largest digital migration in human history,” Durov stated.

In a previous blog post, he said that Telegram had observed a significant increase in users compared to 2020, when it had around 1.5 million new daily sign-ups.

The company had noted 25 million new users joined Telegram within a span of 72 hours in early January.

“We’ve had surges of downloads before, throughout our 7-year history of protecting user privacy. But this time is different,” Durov said.

WhatsApp was forced to delay the implementation of the changes in its terms of service following confusion over an included clause that allows parent company Facebook to share data from WhatsApp across its other products – including Instagram and Oculus.

World leaders turn to Telegram

Durov also listed multiple leaders of countries who had signed up to Telegram, the most recent of which include the presidents of Brazil and Turkey.

They join several other state leaders which are now on the platform, including the President Emmanuel Macron of France and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

“We are honoured that political leaders, as well as numerous public organisations, rely on Telegram to combat misinformation and spread awareness about important issues in their societies,” Durov said.

He added that Telegram does not use nontransparent algorithms to decide whether a subscriber will see content they subscribed to or not, “unlike other networks”.

“As a result, Telegram channels are the only direct way for opinion leaders to reliably connect with their audiences,” Durov said.

“By removing the manipulative algorithms that have become synonymous with 2010s technology platforms, Telegram channels restore transparency and integrity to public ‘one-to-many’ communication,” he stated.