Telegram gains 3 million new users during historic Facebook outage

Encrypted messaging service Telegram says it gained 3 MILLION new users during historic Facebook outage

  • Telegram CEO Pavel Durov said the service gained 3 million users over 24 hours
  • He alluded to the fact that the spike was tied to Facebook’s hours-long outages
  • Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp and Messenger were down on Wednesday 
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While Facebook’s family of apps was crippled by historic worldwide outages, a competitor gained a massive influx in users. 

Pavel Durov, founder and CEO of encrypted messaging service Telegram, confirmed early Thursday that the platform had registered 3 million new users during the time that Facebook’s apps were down. 

Facebook, Instagram, Messenger and WhatsApp suffered from outages that remained unresolved for most of Wednesday, with the incident believed to be the longest disruption in service ever recorded for the social media giant. 

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Pavel Durov, CEO of encrypted messaging service Telegram, said early Thursday that the platform had registered 3 million new users during the time that Facebook’s apps were down

‘I see 3 million new users signed up for Telegram within the last 24 hours,’ Durov wrote on his personal Telegram channel. 

‘Good. We have true privacy and unlimited space for everyone.’

Telegram has grown steadily in recent years, with the chat service positioning itself as ‘the most secure mass marketing message system in the world.’ 

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Last March, Telegram reached 200 million monthly active users, so this latest boost is a sizable addition. 

Similar to Facebook-owned WhatsApp, the site offers end-to-end encryption for users’ messages, as well as a host of other security features, although some experts have called into question just how secure it really is. 

Telegram also claims it will never sell ads or monetize users’ data for targeted ads – a practice that Facebook and its family of apps have been criticized for in the past.   


Durov posted the message about the user boost to his personal Telegram channel. The app has seen steady growth in recent years, amassing some 200 million active users as of last March


Telegram’s CEO alluded that the Facebook outage led to a spike in users. Facebook has denied it was hacked despite the most severe outage in the firm’s history that kept Instagram and WhatsApp users locked out for more than 14 hours, with some till unable to log in

‘Telegram is not intended to bring revenue, it will never sell ads or accept outside investment. It also cannot be sold,’ the company’s website states. 

‘We’re not building a “user base,” we are building a messenger for the people.’ 

Durov didn’t explicitly say that the Facebook outages were the catalyst for the recent influx of users, but he seemed to allude to it in a subtle dig at Facebook, saying the app has ‘true privacy.’ 

It’s not the first time that Telegram has benefited from its rivals outages. 

In 2014, Telegram gained almost 5 million new users when WhatsApp was down for several hours. 

During those hours, Telegram also managed to jump to the top of the App Store charts, claiming the No. 1 spot in the social networking category.                

WHAT CAUSED FACEBOOK’S LARGEST EVER OUTAGE?

There are a number of explanations as to why problems with Facebook’s own hardware could have caused the outage.

The firm’s claims of a ‘database overload’ on its network of servers could be caused by a range of internal complications.

The 500 ‘internal server error’ messages detected by internet network analysts can be prompted to a variety of snags.

With a network of servers – the computers that relay traffic to and from the firm’s apps and their users – as large as Facebook, complications are bound to arise.

Planned maintenance of the software databases used to ferry this internet traffic, as well as the hardware they are stored on, can lead to scheduled downtime.

In this case, the outage clearly caught the company by surprise, which would explain why it took them so long to bring their apps back online. 

Facebook has so far remained tight-lipped over the exact cause of the ‘database overload’.

Potential explanations include updates to the network’s infrastructure that led to unintended consequences.

Another theory put forward suggests that an internet service provider (ISP) in Europe misdirected traffic from Facebook and this problem then spread across the internet.

A useful analogy to explain this explanation is a motorway’s worth of cars being sent down a cul-de-sac due to an incorrect road signal.

The mass failure of components, which includes hard drive storage or power supplies, could also explain the outage, but this would seem unlikely.

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