After Russia-born founder Pavel Durov announced on WhatsApp on Tuesday to change its privacy policy, the encrypted messaging app Telegram registered 25 million new users in the past 72 hours.

36-year-old Durov said on his Telegram channel that the app had 500 million monthly active users in the first few weeks of January and that “25 million new users joined Telegram in the past 72 hours alone.”

WhatsApp, which has more than 2 billion users, made controversial changes to its privacy conditions, allowing it to share more data with its parent company, Facebook.

Durov said: “People no longer want to exchange their privacy for free services.”

WhatsApps’ new term has sparked criticism because users outside of Europe who do not accept the new conditions before February 8 will be cut off from the messaging app.

Telegram is a popular social media platform in many countries (especially in the former Soviet Union and Iran) and is used for private communication and sharing information and news.

Durov said on Tuesday that Telegram has become the “biggest refuge” for those seeking a private secure communication platform, and assured new users that his team “takes this responsibility very seriously.”

Telegram was founded in 2013 by brothers Pavel and Nikolai Durov, who also founded the Russian social media network VKontakte.

Telegram refused to cooperate with the authorities and handed over the encryption keys, which led to its ban in many countries, including Russia.

Last year, Russia announced that after more than two years of trying to block the Messenger application, the country would lift the ban on the Messenger application.

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