‘Spreading like wildfire’:Telegram’s founder says it will hit a billion users this year

‘Spreading like wildfire’:Telegram’s founder says it will hit a billion users this year

The social media platform Telegram will hit one billion users this year, its co-founder Pavel Durov has said in an interview.

Offering users mass group chat functions with so-called channels, as well as an emphasis on privacy and encryption, Telegram has 900 million monthly users making it the sixth most used app in the world behind Facebook, YouTube, WhatsApp, TikTok, Instagram, and WeChat.

"Telegram is spreading like forest fire" and is expected to rise and to hit one billion users in 2024, Durov told the American conservative commentator and former Fox News host Tucker Carlson in an interview on X.

“People are smart, people like to use good things,” he said.

“Whenever you have a person who’s starting to use Telegram, they’re there for a chile and they start to discover all the features, the speed, the security, they don’t wanna go back and they start inviting their friends,” Durov added regarding the company’s business model.

He said that users were drawn by the independence, privacy, and freedom provided by the platform.

A ‘neutral’ platform

Telegram was created in 2013 by Dourov and his brother Nikolaï, who also created VKontakte (VK).

When the Russian government took control of the latter, the Dourovs developed a platform which could not be monitored.

As a consequence, Telegram offers end-to-end encryption and anonymity for its users who can share messages, photos, videos, and files.

The company is based in Dubai in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), a place “not aligned geopolitically with any of the big superpowers,” Durov said.

The app is particularly used in India and Russia despite a two-year ban in the country.

Telegram's focus on privacy and large group chats has made it a valuable tool for activists and journalists to share information and coordinate efforts despite authoritarian regimes.

“We think it’s important to have this platform that is neutral to all voices,” he added.

However, this same anonymity has also attracted those spreading misinformation, propaganda, and illegal content.