This app is spreading like wildfire and will have a billion active users next year, its founder says

This messaging app is spreading like wildfire and will have a billion active users next year, its fo
You may not use it, but you've heard of it: Telegram. The popular messaging app is spreading like a "forest fire" and will show off a billion active monthly users "within a year". That's what its founder, billionaire Pavel Durov says.

He left Russia in 2014 in the wake of his refusal to shut down opposition communities on VK, a social media platform he had previously owned.

Durov made the billion user prediction while paying a visit to Tucker Carlson's show. Despite pressures from certain governments, Durov remains committed to maintaining Telegram as a "neutral platform," steering clear of geopolitical entanglements (via Reuters).

Forbes estimates Durov's fortune at $15.5 billion. He has indicated that Telegram, currently boasting 900 million active users, remains dedicated to its role as a neutral player in the social media landscape. Meta, in contrast, boasts over two billion monthly active users and is hardly "neutral".

According to some reports, Telegram is eyeing a US listing once profitability is achieved. The platform, particularly influential in former Soviet Union republics, stands among major social media players, trailing behind Facebook, YouTube, WhatsApp, Instagram, TikTok, and WeChat.

The concept for an encrypted messaging app arose amid pressure in Russia, with Durov's brother, Nikolai, handling the encryption design.

"I would rather be free than to take orders from anyone," Durov said about his exit from Russia and search for a home for his company, which included stints in Berlin, London, Singapore, and San Francisco.

He said the bureaucracy, especially for hiring global talent, in those places was too onerous and that he was attacked on the street in San Francisco by men who tried to steal his phone.

More alarming, he said, he received too much attention from US security agencies, including from the FBI. He said US agencies tried to hire one of his engineers to find a backdoor into the platform.

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According to him, Google and Apple can be a threat to free speech: "Those two platforms, they could basically censor everything you can read, access on your smartphone," Durov said.

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