Telegram’s founder and CEO Pavel Durov has reported that the messaging platform has got 25 million new users as an aftermath of WhatsApp’s policy updates. With over 500 million users, Telegram is one of the few most sought-after WhatsApp alternatives. Earlier even Signal reported a sudden spurt in the new signups that disrupted its services for some time.
According to the post on Durov’s channel on Telegram, out of the 25 million new users, a majority (38%) of new users are from Asia, followed by 27% from Europe, 21% from Latin America and 8% from MENA. And while he accepts that the platform has experienced surges in the past as well, however, due to the increased focus on data privacy, “this time it is different.”
To recall, this sudden spike in the new signups is because of Facebook-backed WhatsApp updating its privacy policies which will allow WhatsApp, that has over 2 billion users, to share some data with Facebook.
Moreover, the February 8 deadline, that locks non-agreeing users out of WhatsApp, is also forcing users to settle for an alternate solution quickly. And while WhatsApp has tried to clear doubts over the new policies, the mass exodus has already begun.
What next for Telegram?
Though Telegram was a constantly growing platform and despite it being banned by the Russian Government for not handing over the encryption keys, it has remained one of the most used messaging platforms in countries like Russia, Iran and other Asian countries.
Apart from adding new features, Telegram was also in the news due to a failed attempt to launch its own cryptocurrency. However, late last year, Durov announced that with the growing user base, Telegram has to look for ways to generate money to remain afloat. He stated that it either needs to monetize its platform or find a buyer.
Since he didn’t want to sell the messaging platform, he announced that it will start showing some ads and introduce premium features to cover some costs. These ads will be shown in Channels as according to Durov, showing ads in a private conversation is a bad idea. “We think that displaying ads in private one-to-one chats or group chats is a bad idea,” said Durov. “Communication between people should be free of advertising of any sort.”
This plan to monetize channels on Telegram was to be implemented once the platform crosses the 500 million user mark. Now that the founder himself has confirmed the achievement, we will have to wait to hear from the company about its monetization policy and the paid features.