There’s seemingly something different about Telegram. Its rise isn’t only due to Whats App’s acquisition and subsequent downtime. 1 app in Spanish, Arabic, and several Latin American app stores for several weeks before the Facebook deal happened," says Telegram's Markus Ra.

"The growth was there — so the Whats App acquisition and problems merely multiplied the effect across all affected countries." According to app analytics site App Annie, Telegram started truly gaining steam on February 17th, days before the Whats App news even hit.

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It’s not immediately clear why Telegram emerged as the alternative of choice following Whats App’s downtime.

Users could have switched to Kik, or Facebook Messenger, or LINE — all of which have hundreds of millions of users.

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Built by the pioneering Durov brothers behind Russia’s largest social network, VKontakte (also known as VK), Telegram is a messaging service combining the speed of Whats App with Snapchat’s ephemerality and advanced new security measures.