Telegram overtakes WhatsApp to become the best messenger in Russia – Megafon


A 3D printed Telegram logo is placed on a computer motherboard in this illustration taken January 21, 2021. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic

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March 21 (Reuters) – Telegram has overtaken WhatsApp to become Russia’s most popular messaging tool, mobile operator Megafon (MFON.MM) said on Monday, with Russians flocking to the service as Moscow restricts some digital services.

WhatsApp owner Meta Platforms Inc (FB.O) is embroiled in a Russian court case, with prosecutors seeking to label it an ‘extremist organization’, and authorities have actively promoted Telegram as they banned other platforms such as Facebook, Instagram and Twitter (TWTR.N). Read more

The Russian military operation in Ukraine has fueled a simmering dispute between foreign digital platforms and Moscow.

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Megafon, one of Russia’s top four telecom operators, said its analysis of mobile internet traffic showed Telegram’s share rose to 63% in the first two weeks of March from 48% in the two weeks. first weeks of February.

WhatsApp’s share fell from 48% to 32%, Megafon said.

The average Telegram user consumed 101MB of data per day, compared to 26MB for WhatsApp.

Founded by Russian Pavel Durov, Telegram has long been a popular news platform in Russia, with almost all major media outlets, government entities and public figures operating content channels.

“The popularity of the service has increased against the backdrop of access restrictions to other messaging and social networks,” Megafon said in a statement. “The service began to actively develop on February 24.”

Russia sent tens of thousands of troops to Ukraine on February 24 in what it called a special operation aimed at degrading the military capabilities of its southern neighbor and eliminating people it called dangerous nationalists.

Ukrainian forces mounted fierce resistance and the West imposed sweeping sanctions on Russia in an effort to force it to withdraw its forces.

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Reuters reporting; Editing by Kevin Liffey

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