During Monday’s Facebook service outage, Telegram CEO Pavel Durov announced the app had gained a record 70 million new users. On the same day, encrypted messaging app Signal also announced an impressive growth in users. Interestingly, however, both apps compete mostly with Facebook’s WhatsApp, though the outage also caused problems with Facebook Messenger and Instagram messages.
Users were also experiencing issues where they weren’t able to see all of their contacts.
“For the new users I’d like to say this – welcome to Telegram, the largest independent messaging platform,” Durov wrote. “We won’t fail you when others will.” Telegram has long been courting WhatsApp’s 2 billion users, and in a move designed to entice users away from Facebook’s messaging platform, the company added the ability to import WhatsApp chat histories. In addition to voice and text messaging, it also includes video calling and real-time live streaming, but it doesn’t have end-to-end encryption, like Signal and WhatsApp.
“Facebook-owned Whatsapp being down is a reminder that you and your friends should probably be using a more private, non-profit alternative like @Signalapp anyway,” Edward Snowden, a Facebook whistleblower wrote during the outage, “It’s just as free, and takes like 30 seconds to switch.” Snowden has been an advocate of Signal and has used it almost every day since 2015.