Telegram's Pavel Durov Recalls 'Funny' 2009 Meeting With Mark Zuckerberg: 'They Ended Up Trying To Copy Not What We Did, But What I Told Them We Did'

Pavel Durov, the founder of the popular messaging and social media platform Telegram, had a run-in with Meta Platforms Inc. CEO Mark Zuckerberg in a meeting in 2009 that subtly shaped their futures in the tech industry but also led to a lot of competitive mistrust between the two entrepreneurs.

What Happened: Durov reminisced about the encounter in an interview with Tucker Carlson in April, highlighting the initial excitement and subsequent competitive undertones.

“We met with Mark more than 10 years ago. I was still running VK, and I told Mark and his colleagues about our app platform,” Durov said, adding a touch of humor about the outcome, “They ended up trying to copy not what we did, but what I told them we did. It was funny.”

During their dialogue, both tech leaders probed each other’s intentions for expansion. “I remember him asking me whether we were planning to start something on a global basis, on the global level, go for international expansion. I said no,” Durov recalled.

Zuckerberg similarly denied any plans to target Durov's domestic market, yet both moved to expand their respective reaches shortly after the meeting. “We both ended up doing exactly that in two or three weeks,” Durov noted.

See also: Mark Zuckerberg’s Meta Withheld Key Details In Instagram And WhatsApp Acquisitions, FTC Claims

What to know: After founding VKontakte (VK), a popular Russian social media platform in 2006 and growing it into Europe’s largest social network, Durov was ousted in 2014 due to disputes Kremlin-linked owners over censorship issues.

However, his journey did not end with VK; he went on to create Telegram, an encrypted messaging app now serving over 900 million monthly active users. Durov’s ventures continue to influence the tech world, marking him as a formidable counterpart to leaders like Zuckerberg.

Durov has also publicly criticized Meta-owned WhatsApp in the past, calling it a “surveillance tool” and warning users about its security risks. In a message on Telegram, he claimed that hackers could potentially access everything on WhatsApp users’ phones. Durov accused WhatsApp of surveilling users for the past 13 years and suggested that its security flaws might be intentionally planted. He urged people to switch to any other messaging app, highlighting his commitment to privacy and security.

Read next: Steve Jobs Knew The Power Of Saying ‘No’ And It Helped The Apple Co-Founder Avoid Costly Distractions: ‘I Apologize, I Feel Your Pain, But…’

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