Telegram's popularity soaring after Capitol riots: What to know

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Telegram's popularity soaring after Capitol riots: What to know

The secure California-based messaging app Signal may be surging in popularity in the wake of the U.S. Capitol riots, but another messaging app, Tel

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The secure California-based messaging app Signal may be surging in popularity in the wake of the U.S. Capitol riots, but another messaging app, Telegram, is also seeing a rise in users.

According to Reuters, citing data from Apptopia, the Telegram app was downloaded 5.6 million times worldwide from Wednesday through Sunday.

Like Signal, Telegram allows its users to send texts, videos and audio or picture messages with 256-bit symmetric AES encryption. It is “one of the top 10 most-used apps in the world,” with more than 500 million active users, according to the company’s profile.

The website of the Telegram messaging app is seen on a computer's screen in Beijing, Thursday, June 13, 2019.  (AP Photo/Andy Wong)

The website of the Telegram messaging app is seen on a computer’s screen in Beijing, Thursday, June 13, 2019.  (AP Photo/Andy Wong)

WHAT TO KNOW ABOUT SIGNAL, THE SECURE MESSAGING APP THAT’S SURGING IN POPULARITY

Founded by Russian entrepreneurs and brothers Nikolai and Pavel Durov, Telegram also does not make money via ads, unlike other social networks, adding that it will “never” give third parties access to user data.

In an April blog post announcing the video call feature, Telegram, which ran afoul of the Securities and Exchange Commission after a cryptocurrency sale went awry, said that more features and improvements, including group video calls, would be coming in the future.

“All video calls are protected with end-to-end encryption,” Dubai-based Telegram wrote in the blog post. “To confirm your connection, compare the four emoji shown on-screen for you and your chat partner – if they match, your call is 100% secured by time-tested encryption also used in Telegram’s Secret Chats and Voice Calls.”

The company has benefited in large part because WhatsApp, a similar secure messaging app owned by Facebook, has experienced a decline in users, believed to be caused by new privacy terms.

The new terms, which went into effect recently, now state that WhatsApp can share certain information with Facebook, Instagram and Messenger. On Tuesday, Adam Mosseri, the head of Instagram, attempted to defend the changes.

“The policy update does *not* affect the privacy of your messages with friends or family in any way,” Mosseri tweeted. “The changes are related to messaging a business on WhatsApp, which is optional.”

Telegram appeared to recognize the reason it is benefiting, tweeting out the popular meme with two Spiderman costumes pointing at each other, with the faces replaced by the logos of both Facebook and WhatsApp.

But as with Signal, there may be limitations to using Telegram to send encrypted messages. The end-to-end encryption may be limited if one of the parties is not using Telegram. 

The app has also come under scrutiny for its user base. In 2017, Telegram may have been one of the sources of communication involved in connection with the suicide bombing that killed 22 people at the end of an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester, England.

Fox News has reached out to Telegram with a request for comment.

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