As the new WhatsApp policies continue to put more users in question over the app’s future, other communication applications like Signal and Telegram are enjoying a rise in the number of users. Now, Telegram founder Pavel Durov has slammed Facebook over a lack of respect for its userbase in a new blog post.
“I hear Facebook has an entire department devoted to figuring out why Telegram is so popular. Imagine dozens of employees working on just that full-time,” says Durov in his post. “I am happy to save Facebook tens of millions of dollars and give away our secret for free: respect your users,” he adds.
Durov goes on to mention that as Telegram grows closer to 500 million users, it has become a major competitor for Facebook’s WhatsApp. He accuses Facebook of turning to “covert marketing” since WhatsApp is not able to compete with Telegram’s quality and privacy. “Wikipedia editors have recently exposed multiple paid bots adding biased information into the WhatsApp Wikipedia article,” he adds.
Durov also speaks about three myths surrounding Telegram in the blog post. These revolve around the app not being open-source, being Russian in origin and, and not being encrypted.
Is Telegram open-source or not?
Durov starts with ensuring readers that Telegram is, and has been open-source since 2013, adding that the app’s encryption and API are documented, and reviewed by security experts multiple times. “Telegram is the only messaging app in the world that has verifiable builds both for iOS and Android” says Durov. “As for WhatsApp, they intentionally obfuscate their code, making it impossible to verify their encryption and privacy,” he adds.
Is Telegram Russian?
Telegram’s Wikipedia page suggests that the app was created first in Russia in 2013, before moving to Germany. While Durov doesn’t comment on the app’s origin, he mentions that Telegram has no servers and offices in Russia. He also adds that the app was banned in Russia from 2018 to 2020 and continues to be banned in some “authoritarian countries like Iran”. Durov also insinuates how supposedly secure apps like WhatsApp have never had any issues in these regions.
Is Telegram encrypted?
“Every chat on Telegram has been encrypted since launch. We have Secret Chats that are end-to-end and Cloud Chats that also offer real-time secure and distributed cloud storage,” mentions Durov. “WhatsApp, on the other hand, had zero encryption for a few years, and then adopted an encryption protocol funded by the US Government,” he adds. He also slams WhatsApp’s encryption for having “multiple backdoors” and for “reliance on backups”.
Durov concludes by mentioning that Telegram doesn’t spend money on marketing. We believe that people are smart enough to choose what is best for them. And, judging by the half a billion people using Telegram, this belief is justified, he adds.
The future of Telegram
Telegram recently announced future plans for the app, which include monetizing the platform. The app will be bringing in-app ads to larger groups and channels while keeping private chats and private groups ad-free. The app also plans to keep its current feature-set free of cost but is set to add on premium, paid features for business and power users later on. Durov also mentioned in the post that Telegram will continue to remain an independent company, adding that the steps the app is taking will help keep the company going forward.