Dubai-based Telegram app to hit 1 billion users 'within a year'

ALEXANDER NEMENOV/ AFP

The Telegram messaging app, one of the most popular social media platforms, will likely cross one billion active monthly users within a year as it is spreading like "forest fire", its billionaire founder Pavel Durov said on Tuesday.

The Telegram messaging app, one of the most popular social media platforms, will likely cross one billion active monthly users within a year as it is spreading like "forest fire", its billionaire founder Pavel Durov said\.

Telegram, based in Dubai, was founded by Russian-born Durov, who left Russia in 2014 after he refused to comply with demands to shut down opposition communities on his VK social media platform, which he sold.

Durov, who is estimated by Forbes to have a fortune of $15.5 billion, said some governments had sought to pressure him but the app, which has now 900 million active users, should remain a "neutral platform" and not a "player in geopolitics".

One of Telegram's main rivals, Meta Platforms' WhatsApp, has more than two billion monthly active users. The Financial Times reported in March that Telegram would likely aim for a US listing once the company had reached profitability.

Telegram, which is particularly influential in the republics of the former Soviet Union, is ranked as one of the major social media platforms, after Facebook, YouTube, WhatsApp, Instagram, TikTok and Wechat.

After Russia launched its full-scale invasion of Ukraine in 2022, Telegram has become the main source of unfiltered - and sometimes graphic and misleading - content from both sides about the war and the politics surrounding the conflict.

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