Chatapp Telegram now has 500 million active users.

The service reports Tuesday evening that "in the past 72 hours more than 25 million users from around the world have joined Telegram".

The 500 million mark was broken in the first week of January, Telegram founder Pavel Durov writes.

"People no longer want to trade their privacy for free services," he writes.

"They no longer want to be held hostage by tech monopolies that think they can get away with everything as long as they have enough users."

The increase in the number of Telegram users follows after WhatsApp outside the European Union comes under fire for a new privacy policy.

It states that users must agree to data sharing between WhatsApp and Facebook, otherwise they will soon be unable to use the app.

This concerns information such as telephone numbers and locations.

Incidentally, this is not the case in the Netherlands.

Agreements have been made between the Irish privacy authority and Facebook, so that no user data is exchanged between Facebook and WhatsApp within the EU.

In addition to Telegram, WhatsApp alternative Signal also sees the number of users increase significantly.

According to the analysis firm Sensor Tower, Signal was downloaded 8.8 million times worldwide in the week after WhatsApp announced its new policy, the

BBC

reports

.

The number of downloads was 246,000 in the week before.

The apps also appear to be gaining popularity in the Netherlands.

Signal is currently # 1 in the App Store.

Telegram is number three and WhatsApp number six.

In the Google Play Store, Signal and Telegram are also at the top of the list of most popular apps.