Telegram Experiences Massive Growth in January: 90 Million New Users

The Telegram app logo is seen on a smartphone in this picture illustration taken on Sept. 15, 2017. (Reuters/Dado Ruvic/Illustration/File Photo)
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BY SAMUEL ALLEGRI

Messaging app “Telegram” sent a message to its users announcing that in January alone it gained 90 million new users.

“In January 2021, more than 90 million new users from around the world joined Telegram,” reads the encrypted messaging app’s message. “Thank you! These milestones were made possible by users like you who invite their friends to Telegram.”

The Washington D.C.-based Coalition for a Safer Web recently started a lawsuit against Apple for not taking action to remove the messaging app Telegram, alleging that the platform allowed violent and radical discussions related to the Jan. 6 storming of the U.S Capitol.

The suit came after Apple and Google removed the social media platform Parler from its app stores, saying that the app would be suspended until they could moderate “egregious content.” Soon after, Amazon Web Services took the site down due to alleged violations.

In 2019, European police worked with Telegram to disable accounts associated with ISIS terrorists and other violent groups after they had been communicating with each other and posting propaganda on the app.

The recent banning of many conservatives from Twitter and the curtailment of alternative social media platform Parler by Google, Amazon, and Apple shows just how far the social media giants wish to control the narrative. (Reuters)

Due to concerns over Big Tech’s recent ban on President Donald Trump and other prominent conservative figures, a large number of users are flocking to other alternatives.

Twitter permanently banned the president from its platform on Jan. 8, two days after a mob broke into the U.S. Capitol during a joint session of Congress convened to certify the results of the 2020 presidential election. The company claimed that Trump had incited the violence.

The ban was met with criticism from world leaders, including the president of Mexico and the chancellor of Germany. Trump accused Twitter of colluding with the Democrats. Facebook and YouTube have also removed Trump’s accounts.

President Donald Trump delivers his farewell speech on Jan. 19, 2021. (White House/YouTube)

Investigative journalism nonprofit Project Veritas on Thursday released a leaked video that appears to show Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey’s internal discussions before Trump’s account was banned on the social media platform following the breach of the U.S. Capitol building.

“You should always feel free to express yourself in whatever format, manifestation, feels right,” Dorsey said in the clip, which was secretly filmed by a Twitter insider, according to Project Veritas.

“We are focused on one account [@realDonaldTrump] right now, but this is going to be much bigger than just one account, and it’s going to go on for much longer than just this day, this week, and the next few weeks, and it’s going to go on beyond the inauguration,” Dorsey added. “And we have to expect that and we have to be ready for that.”

“So, the focus is certainly on this account and how it ties to real-world violence. But also, we need to think much longer-term around how these dynamics play out over time. I don’t believe this is going away anytime soon,” Dorsey says in the clip.

Signal Experiences Massive Growth

The “Signal” app is also experiencing remarkable growth due to concerns over Big Tech’s recent ban on Trump and other prominent conservative figures.

Growth spiked even more after messaging app WhatsApp put into place a controversial privacy terms change, which requires the app to share user data with Instagram and Facebook.

Brian Acton, co-founder of the Signal Foundation, who also co-founded WhatsApp before it was sold to Facebook, told Reuters via email that their growth in recent days has been “vertical,” and that they’re also looking to expand their staff.

Acton said that, at the moment, they are looking at improving the app’s group chat and video services so that it becomes more competitive on a front that has been crucial during the pandemic lockdowns.

Isabel Van Brugen contributed to this report.

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