The popularity of the messenger ICQ has skyrocketed among Hong Kong residents. It began to be downloaded 35 times more often than before: the number of weekly downloads of the IM client (from January 5 to 12) increased from two hundred to seven thousand. The Wall Street Journal writes about this with reference to data from Sensor Tower.
An ICQ spokesperson emphasized that downloads in Hong Kong for this period exceeded the number of downloads for the entire fourth quarter of last year. In addition, ICQ searches have hit a record over the past 10 years. As the newspaper notes, users from Hong Kong “do not like Facebook’s attempts to curry favor with the Chinese authorities.” ICQ explained that they do not transmit messages of their users to anyone, except by a court decision.
Journalists linked the rise in popularity to the announcement of changes to WhatsApp’s privacy rules. They will allow the messenger to transfer data about users to Facebook, including account information, transactions, IP addresses and more.
The ICQ service was founded in 1996 by the Israeli company Mirabilis. It became one of the first instant messaging programs. In 1998, it was bought by the America Online conglomerate for $ 287 million. In 2010, the messenger was acquired by Mail.ru Group for $ 187.5 million, and in 2020 the company relaunched the service. It has quick answers and the ability to create bots. The total number of active ICQ users was not disclosed.
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