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Telegram adding secure group video calls this year

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The messaging service now has 400 million monthly active users

Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge

Messaging app Telegram is developing a group video calling service that’s due to be launched later this year, the company announced today. It says that current options offer either security or usability, but that its version will offer both. Telegram announced the plans alongside news that it reached 400 million monthly active users, doubling its user base in two years.

Telegram’s claim that current group video calling services offer either security or usability is a not-so-subtle swipe at user-friendly Zoom, which has been hit by multiple security scandals in recent months. Critics pointed out that the service’s claims about offering end-to-end encryption were false, and that its default privacy settings made it easy for uninvited users to tap into video calls. That said, Telegram has also faced its share of criticism from the security community in part because its end-to-end encryption is not enabled by default.

According to Telegram, it hit the 400 million user milestone a year after reaching 300 million users. Reaching the milestone means it’s doubled its user base since 2018, when it had 200 million monthly active users. The company said it’s seeing at least 1.5 million new users sign up for the service every day, and that it is the most downloaded social media app in over 20 countries. However, its user base still pales in comparison to WhatsApp, which boasted 2 billion users as of February this year.

Alongside its monthly active users announcement, Telegram also detailed a collection of new features it’s launching today. Users can now add educational snippets to quizzes created on the service, there’s a new directory to browse the 20,000 stickers available on Telegram, and the company is also adding new features to its macOS client. You can find full details of the new features on Telegram’s blog.