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Telegram is a cloud-based instant messaging and voice over IP (VoIP) service created by Telegram FZ-LLC of Dubai, founded by Pavel Durov in 2013. As of 2021, it had over 500 million active users.

Telegram was designed as a privacy-centric alternative to popular messaging apps like WhatsApp, Signal and Facebook Messenger. End-to-end encryption technology keeps messages and calls secure while offering features such as self-destructing messages, anonymous messaging and secret chats.

Telegram was initially developed in 2013, focusing on speed and security. It first debuted on iOS devices in August 2013, followed by Android devices in October 2013, quickly becoming popular across several countries such as Russia, Iran and India.

Telegram introduced secret chats, encrypted messages that can only be read by both sender and recipient 2014. They also added group chat functionality allowing users to form groups with up to 200,000 members each.

Telegram's popularity soared, becoming a go-to secure messaging app for activists, journalists, and others who prioritize privacy. By 2015 it had amassed 50 million active users; by 2018, that figure had more than doubled.

Recently, Telegram has come under scrutiny due to its use by extremist groups and the facilitation of misinformation dissemination. Nonetheless, Telegram remains a widely popular messaging app, with new features like voice calls and video calls being introduced in 2020 to compete with other messaging apps.

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