Telegram has overtaken WhatsApp to become Russia’s most popular messaging tool, the mobile operator Megafon said on Monday, with Russians flocking to the service as Moscow restricts some digital services.
WhatsApp owner Meta Platforms Inc is embroiled in a Russian court case, with prosecutors seeking to label it an “extremist organization,” and authorities have actively promoted Telegram as they have banned other foreign platforms such as Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.
Russia’s military operation in Ukraine has added fuel to a simmering dispute between foreign digital platforms and Moscow.
Megafon, one of Russia’s four main telecoms operators, said its analysis of mobile internet traffic showed that Telegram's share had jumped to 63 percent in the first two weeks of March from 48 percent in the first two weeks of February.
WhatsApp's share dropped to 32 percent from 48 percent, Megafon said.
The average Telegram user consumed 101 MB of data a day, compared to 26 MB for WhatsApp.
Founded by Russian Pavel Durov, Telegram has long been a popular news platform in Russia, with almost all major media, government entities and public figures operating content channels.
“The popularity of the service has grown against the backdrop of restrictions on access to other messengers and social networks,” Megafon said in a statement. “The service started actively growing on February 24.”
Russia sent tens of thousands of troops into Ukraine on February 24 in what it called a special operation to degrade its southern neighbor’s military capabilities and root out people it called dangerous nationalists.
Ukrainian forces have mounted stiff resistance and the West has imposed sweeping sanctions on Russia in an effort to force it to withdraw its forces.
Telegram founder Durov says over 70 mln new users joined during Facebook outageMessaging app Telegram gained over 70 million new users during Monday’s Facebook outage, its founder Pavel Durov said on Tuesday, as people worldwide ... Technology
Italian police block Telegram groups due to fake COVID health pass schemesItalian police on Monday blocked several groups on mobile messaging app Telegram where users could buy fake COVID-19 health passes required to access ... Coronavirus
WhatsApp outage hits trading in assets from crypto to Russian oilWhatsApp’s nearly six-hour long outage on Monday hit trading of assets from cryptocurrencies to Russian oil, market players said, although a quick ... Technology