Altogether, Telegram was downloaded 63 million times in the month, 3.8 times higher than the same period last year. Users in India and Indonesia downloaded the app the most, with 24 and 10 percent of that total respectively.
Telegram became the refuge of sorts for millions of instant messaging users after WhatsApp announced new policy that would mandate sharing data with parent company Facebook.
After a chorus of concerns raised by users following the announcement, and because of Facebook’s tarnished track record on privacy, WhatsApp announced it would delay the adopting the new policy from February till May. The app’s representatives maintain there have been misunderstandings and large-scale misinformation about the implications of the new policy.
Sensor Tower data shows downloads of Telegram and Signal multiply at the turn of the new year when the announcement was first made.
Another factor may be the social media gag imposed on then US President Donald Trump in the wake of the 6 January storming of the US Capitol. Bereft of his preferred mouthpiece on Twitter, and temporarily banned on Facebook, Instagram and YouTube, Telegram became one of the few places where the embattled Trump still had an official presence.
After the app shot up in popularity, the Coalition for a Safer Web filed a lawsuit against Apple urging it to delete the Telegram messenger from its App Store, arguing that it is being used as a platform to proliferate violent and extremist views. Pavel Durov, the app’s developer, said that moderators had cracked down on hundreds of public calls for violence in the wake of the Capitol's storming.