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Telegram Crosses 1 Billion Downloads on the Play Store

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Messaging client Telegram has breached the 1 billion downloads barrier on the Google Play Store. Many are now pointing out how this surge may have been caused due to the recent Facebook server outage, taking down apps like Messenger, Instagram, and WhatsApp for almost six hours.

Telegram has long been on the rise, thanks in large part to its user-friendly features. For example, Telegram allows users to use the app on multiple devices at the same time. Meanwhile, WhatsApp has promised this feature, though it’s yet to roll out.

The app also offered end-to-end encryption long before WhatsApp joined the fray. Keeping this in mind, it’s not surprising that Telegram is reaching new heights.

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Telegram CEO Pavel Durov says (via) that the app only had around 500 million active users at the beginning of 2021. He said the service added 70 million new users as a consequence of the Facebook outage.

Despite the surge in downloads, apps like WhatsApp currently have over 5 billion downloads

It’s worth mentioning that surpassing 1 billion downloads doesn’t necessarily mean Telegram has that many active users. Moreover, this download figure does not cover users who may have bypassed Google Play and sideloaded the Telegram apk on their devices. While this is an important achievement for Telegram, rival apps like WhatsApp have over 5 billion installs on the Play Store.

Facebook’s server outage came during a particularly rough time for the company. It later explained the outage by saying that “configuration changes on the backbone routers” triggered a chain of events leading to the outage.

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Not much later, Instagram said it is testing a new feature that could notify users during technical issues or outages. The app wants to send notifications directly within the user’s Activity Feed. ​​

“We won’t send a notification every single time there is an outage,” Instagram said in a release.

Earlier this month, the WSJ revealed Facebook’s internal documents dating back to 2016. These documents illustrated that the company knew that its recommendation algorithms fueled divisiveness among users. The report also named Facebook’s VP of Global Public Policy, Joel Kaplan, as being resistant to reforms.

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This was followed by explosive Senate testimony by whistleblower Frances Haugen. Meanwhile, Facebook could be facing an SEC probe over allegations of misleading the public and the company’s investors.