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Founder/CEO, Telegram

Telegram CEO Pavel Durov’s Instagram feed screams luxury: shirtless selfies, seaplanes, yachts — everything you might expect from the co-founder and CEO of a social networking app valued at $30 billion. But behind the glitz, Durov is a founder with convictions, going to extreme lengths to protect Telegram’s message encryption services around the world. As a result, Telegram has proved instrumental for protest groups seeking to circumvent repressive governments across the globe. In fact, Durov has been reluctant to crack down on any content circulating on the app — including extremist content and conspiracy theories — in the name of defending free speech. More recently, Telegram, which reached a billion downloads last year, has been a useful tool for Ukrainians and Russians to skirt censorship and keep up to date on the war.

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