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Secure Messaging App Telegram Hits 100 Million Users

The popular app has become a favorite of terrorists like ISIS for its strong security capabilities.

Secure Messaging App Telegram Hits 100 Million Users
[Photo: Flickr user Eduardo Woo]

Secure messaging app Telegram has reached a 100 million user milestone.

In an interview at the Mobile World Congress, CEO Pavel Durov revealed the impressive boost in usership, up from 60 million in May 2015.

Durov has experience with popular social networks—he and his brother Nikolai Durov started Russia's largest social network, VKontakte, which boasts more than 300 million users. Another impressive figure? Telegram signs up 350,000 new users every day—with no marketing budget.

As Wired reports here, those numbers are small compared to the billion using Facebook's WhatsApp or the 800 million users on Messenger, but they are indicative of the quick growth of messaging services safe from prying eyes. Telegram is thought to be even more secure than WhatsApp, and provides secure group chats for up to 200 members as well as self-destructing messages, photos, and videos.

But the app's high growth in the less than three years since it was launched may not necessarily be a good thing. Telegram was the subject of controversy last November, when it was reported that members of ISIS may have used the app to coordinate the Paris terrorist attacks. Telegram responded by removing 78 public channels used by supporters and militants of the Islamic State.

However, CEO Durov remains unmoved when it comes to keeping Telegram users' data private—he left VKontakte in 2014 after ownership of the social network trended toward government interference—and said as much at the Mobile World Congress, telling reporters, "We are not willing to compromise our values in order to increase our market share."

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