New Delhi, January 9 (IANS): As WhatsApp teases users to either give their consent to sharing data with Facebook or lose their accounts after February 8, rival Telegram's Founder and CEO Pavel Durov on Saturday slammed the social media giant, saying it is no surprise that the flight of users from WhatsApp to Telegram, already ongoing for a few years, has accelerated.
According to Durov, Facebook has an entire department devoted to figuring out why Telegram is so popular.
"Imagine dozens of employees working on just that full-time. I am happy to save Facebook tens of millions of dollars and give away our secret for free: respect your users," he said in a statement.
At about 500 million users and growing, Telegram has become a major problem for the Facebook corporation.
"Unable to compete with Telegram in quality and privacy, Facebook's WhatsApp seems to have switched to covert marketing: Wikipedia editors have recently exposed multiple paid bots adding biased information into the WhatsApp Wikipedia article," Durov claimed.
"We have also detected bots which spread inaccurate information about Telegram on social media".
Millions of people are outraged by the latest change in WhatsApp Terms, which now say users must feed all their private data to Facebook's ad engine.
In 2019 alone, Facebook spent almost $10 billion on marketing.
Durov said that unlike Facebook, Telegram doesn't spend any money, let alone billions of dollars, on marketing.
"We believe that people are smart enough to choose what is best for them. And, judging by the half a billion people using Telegram, this belief is justified," he said.
Not just Telegram but another encrypted messaging app Signal has seen a surge in new sign ins after Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk vouched for it.
"Verification codes are currently delayed across several providers because so many new people are trying to join Signal right now (we can barely register our excitement). We are working with carriers to resolve this as quickly as possible. Hang in there," Signal tweeted.
"Everyone should be able to register without delay again. Thanks to all of the carriers who flipped the right switches so that people can keep switching," the company further said.
The in-app notification did not elicit much details but clicking on the links clearly mentioned the key changes in how WhatsApp will collect and process users' information going forward, and the partnership with Facebook, its parent company, as part of a larger unification drive between the family of apps.
To recall, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg in October said that the company is working hard to merge Messenger, Instagram and WhatsApp so that they can start to function a little bit more like one connected interoperable system.
In a bid to allow cross-messaging among its family of apps, Facebook has reportedly started merging Instagram and Messenger chats. The social network has already integrated Messenger rooms with WhatsApp on the Web.