Facebook is often seen as an untouchable giant in the field of social networks, a site so big that no competitor can approach. But if you trust Pavel Durov, the founder of the Telegram messaging application, even a simple flip of Facebook like a few hours of interruption can have quite serious consequences for your user base.
On Thursday, shortly after Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp were back online, Durov said on his Telegram channel (via TechCrunch) that “3 million users registered on Telegram in the last 24 hours.”
The figure is remarkable even for Facebook, which has more than 2.3 billion active monthly users. Durov never directly relates the interruption of Facebook / Instagram with the influx of users to Telegram, but does throw a blow to Facebook by saying that Telegram has “true privacy and unlimited space for all.”
Telegram is a very different application from Facebook and Instagram; its closest competitor is Facebook’s WhatsApp messaging application, which also suffered service disruption on Wednesday and Thursday.
You got it backwards. In 5+ years, Telegram disclosed exactly zero bytes of private data to third-parties including governments. That's why Telegram is banned by authoritarian governments such as Russia and Iran. Other apps such as WhatsApp have no issues with there.— Pavel Durov (@durov) March 9, 2019
Durov left his first project, the social networking site Vkontakte (a very popular Russian clone on Facebook), after insinuating that he had not been able to keep his client’s data private from the Russian authorities. Soon after, he left Russia completely and started using Telegram, which had more than 200 million active users in March 2018. Durov usually calls his competitors, including WhatsApp, publicly, for not doing enough to protect the privacy of their users
Telegram made headlines in January 2018 when a leaked document detailed the company’s plans to launch a massive initial currency offer (ICO), in the amount of $ 1.2 billion. But after having reported $ 1.7 billion in private funds, the company canceled the sale of public tokens.
As for Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp, they all seem to work normally now, although maybe with a small portion of users checking the grass on the other side of the fence.