Telegram

Overview

Telegram is a free messaging app that was launched in 2013 by brothers Pavel and Nikolai Durov, who previously founded VKontakte. VKontakte is best described as the Russian version of Facebook. Currently, the company behind Telegram is based in Dubai.

Telegram currently claims to have 500 million active users each month. According to SEO blog Backlinko, “25 million new users joined Telegram during a 72-hour peak in January 2021. That equates to about 8.33 million new registrations per day. And over 100 million new users started using Telegram in January alone.”  The rush to Telegram was prompted by GAFAM’s (Google, Apple, Facebook, Amazon, Microsoft) attempted censorship of popular conservative voices such as Donald Trump.

Telegram functions like a classic instant messaging app. You can send messages to other users, create group conversations, make voice and video calls, and send files and stickers.

However, it is not a carbon copy of your generic instant messaging app with one main differentiating factor: Telegram has a watertight privacy policy in addition to other features that are specific to the application, including chat options, personalization, and data encryption matters.

Another feature in Telegram are Channels.  Channels are like radio stations, broadcasting messages from a single source to an unlimited number of Telegram subscribers to those channels. But you can’t respond to channel messages the way you could to a message broadcast on Twitter or Facebook.

Finally, Telegram is not dependent on any big tech company or any of the GAFAM, unlike WhatsApp that is owned by Facebook. However, its founder Pavel Durov announced at the end of 2020 that he plans to monetize Telegram by integrating ads as well as in-app purchases.

For a more in-depth overview of the features and functions of Telegram, visit https://www.nextpit.com/telegram.

Pros

  • Large file sizes: Telegram supports file attachments up to 2 GB in size. This is one area where Telegram has virtually all other messaging apps beat. Only Skype comes even remotely close, limiting you to 300 MB files. Most apps are much more limiting — WhatsApp is just 16 MB, for example. 
  • End-to-end encryption: When using the Secret Chat mode, communication is completely encrypted from end to end, rendering communication essentially bulletproof. You can also get end-to-end encryption in apps like WhatsApp and Signal.
  • Channels are a great way to access news and stay in touch with your interests.  Especially since January 2021, many politically conservative influencers have left GAFAM platforms for Telegram and other ‘open source’ apps.

Cons

  • Security isn’t all that it’s hyped to be: Telegram’s signature feature is its end-to-end encryption, but it’s important to be aware that not all communication within Telegram has this level of privacy. Most messages use client-to-server encryption, which means the content of your messages are stored in the cloud.  They are encrypted, but they are available to be accessed, hacked, stolen, etc…  WhatsApp actually is more private in this respect, since this app does not use client-to-server encryption for any messages.
  • Self-destructing messages: Secret messages can be configured to self-destruct after a set period of time.. This is similar to what you can do in Snapchat.  While this might be an advantage for security and privacy, it is a risky and tempting feature for children using the app.  For this reason, both Protect Young Eyes and Common Sense Media do not recommend allowing children under the age of 17 to use this app.
  • Fake news: many popular influencers have their own Channels, but for every ‘real’ Channel there can be several imitation channels.  For example:
    • There are 7 “Mike Pompeo” channels.  Only 1 is actually administered by the former Secretary of State and his team.
    • There are 2 “Kristi Noem” channels.  Neither are directly administered by the popular governor.  Her Facebook and Twitter accounts are “real”.
  • It’s a gathering place for conspiracy theorists and hate groups: As GAFAM increasingly takes down neo-Nazis, QAnon groups, and other hate groups and conspiracy theorists, Telegram has become an attractive gathering place for many of these groups because of the enhanced security and permissive content policies, though Telegram has ramped up efforts to disable accounts run by hate groups and extremists.  So be careful and use discretion about what you read and follow.

*Please note, that although we have found valuable information from an external web page for our blog post, we do not endorse all information, religious views and opinions posted on these third-party websites.