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Forwarded from Durov's Channel
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.

I am happy to save Facebook tens of millions of dollars and give away our secret for free: respect your users.

Millions of people are outraged by the latest change in WhatsApp Terms, which now say users must feed all their private data to Facebook’s ad engine. It’s no surprise that the flight of users from WhatsApp to Telegram, already ongoing for a few years, has accelerated.

At about 500 million users and growing, Telegram has become a major problem for the Facebook corporation. Unable to compete with Telegram in quality and privacy, Facebook’s WhatsApp seems to have switched to covert marketing: Wikipedia editors have recently exposed multiple paid bots adding biased information into the WhatsApp Wikipedia article [1].

We have also detected bots which spread inaccurate information about Telegram on social media. Here are the 3 myths they are pushing:

Myth 1. “Telegram’s code is not open-source”. In reality, all Telegram client apps have been open source since 2013 [2]. Our encryption and API are fully documented and have been reviewed by security experts thousands of times. Moreover, Telegram is the only messaging app in the world that has verifiable builds both for iOS and Android [3]. As for WhatsApp, they intentionally obfuscate their code, making it impossible to verify their encryption and privacy.

Myth 2. “Telegram is Russian”. In fact, Telegram has no servers or offices in Russia and was blocked there from 2018 to 2020 [4]. Telegram is still blocked in some authoritarian countries such as Iran, while WhatsApp and other “supposedly secure” apps have never had any issue in these places.

Myth 3. “Telegram is not 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 [5]. WhatsApp, on the other hand, had zero encryption for a few years, and then adopted an encryption protocol funded by the US Government [6]. Even if we assume that the WhatsApp encryption is solid, it’s invalidated via multiple backdoors and reliance on backups [7].

In 2019 alone, Facebook spent almost 10 billion dollars on marketing [8] (I guess this includes paid bots on Wikipedia and other sites).

Unlike Facebook, Telegram doesn't spend any money, let alone billions of dollars, 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.

[1] – WhatsApp Gives Users Ultimatum – Share Data with Facebook or Lose Access
[2] – In December 2020, the Wikipedia article about WhatsApp had the label “This article may have been created or edited in return for undisclosed payments, a violation of Wikipedia's terms of use”. Related investigation is discussed here.
[3] – Telegram Source Code
[4] – Reproducible Builds for Telegram Apps
[4] – On Digital Resistance in Russia
[5] – On Telegram Encryption
[6] – U.S. Government Funded The WhatsApp Encryption
[7] – Why WhatsApp Will Never Be Secure
[8] – Facebook Marketing Spending from 2010 to 2019
Forwarded from Durov's Channel
I’ve been taking part in the discussion in the comments and answering questions. Here are some of the responses:

On Apple-Google censorship https://t.me/durovschat/518801

On making server-side code open https://t.me/durovschat/515221

On a privacy-conscious ad platform https://t.me/durovschat/527441

On US-based encrypted apps https://t.me/durovschat/519187

On encryption vs. usability when using Secret Chats vs Cloud Chats https://t.me/durovschat/527081

On maximising security of communication https://t.me/durovschat/527134
@stickers bot now accepts .webp files
Forwarded from Durov's Channel
Some users wanted a way to move their chat history from WhatsApp over to Telegram. Two weeks ago I realized this should be theoretically possible, and yesterday we made this feature available on both iOS and Android, together with many other improvements. It also supports migrating chats from KakaoTalk and Line – two other Pre-Telegram apps.

Nothing like this has ever been made possible by a major app, and our team had to implement some serious magic to make it work. We are happy with the result: moving messages to Telegram allows people to save disk space and stop worrying about third-party backups or changing devices.

The feature currently imports messages to the end of the target Telegram conversation, but retains the original timestamps of messages. Some folks have been asking whether we can mix the existing messages in a Telegram chat with the imported messages in one unified timeline. This should be possible if the target chat (where you import messages to) has fewer than 100 messages, so we’ve started to work on that.

We’ll also provide free APIs for third-party developers who want to create tools that will allow users to import messages to Telegram from anywhere. Hopefully, such tools will help add support for more apps than this first wave of three – and also allow users to import multiple chats or their entire inbox at once.

The original meaning of the paper plane on the Telegram logo means “freedom”. For us, freedom of choice and data portability are paramount. People should be in complete control over their own data – and their own lives.
Forwarded from Durov's Channel
Telegram became the most downloaded mobile app in the world in January 2021.

For the last 7.5 years, Telegram has steadily climbed the rankings for popular apps. Since its launch in 2013, Telegram’s user base has grown over 40% each year.

What’s our secret? Consistency.

For the last 7.5 years we’ve consistently defended the privacy of our users and regularly improved the quality and feature set of our apps.

Anyone who stays true to their values and regularly applies focused effort over a long period of time is bound to succeed in their area. This is true for any human occupation – sport, blogging, art, coding, business or studying.
Forwarded from Durov's Channel
Why users shouldn’t worry about ads on Telegram

I read an article that cautioned users from switching to Telegram from other apps, because "Telegram is going to introduce ads". This is misleading for at least 3 reasons:

1. There will be no ads in chats on Telegram. Users who rely on Telegram as a messaging app, not a social network, will never see ads. Private chats and group chats are and will always be ad-free. As I outlined in December, ads are being considered only in large one-to-many channels (like this one), which do not exist in any other messaging app. So users ditching older apps for Telegram won’t increase the number of ads in their lives.

2. User data will not be used to target ads. We believe that collecting private data from users to target ads the way WhatsApp-Facebook do is immoral. We like the approach of privacy-conscious services like DuckDuckGo: monetizing services without collecting information about users. So if we introduce ads in one-to-many-channels, they will be contextual – based on the topic of the channel, not targeted based on any user data.

3. We are fixing ads that are already here. In most markets, content creators on Telegram already monetize their content by selling promotional posts in their channels. This is a chaotic market with multiple third-party ad networks pushing intrusive ads that create a negative user experience. We want to fix this situation by offering a privacy-conscious alternative for channel owners.

Users will be able to opt out of ads, but I do think that privacy-conscious ads are a good way for channel owners to monetize their efforts – as an alternative to donations or subscriptions, which we are also working to offer them.

Our end goal is to establish a new class of content creators – one that is financially sustainable and free to choose the strategy that is best for their subscribers. Traditional social networks have exploited users and publishers for far too long with excessive data collection and manipulative algorithms. It’s time to change this.
Forwarded from BotNews
Bot API 5.1

• Added updates about member status changes in chats: my_chat_member and chat_member
• Support for improved invite links
• Basic info about voice chats
• And more, read the full changelog here:

https://core.telegram.org/bots/api-changelog#march-9-2021

Warning: After one of the upcoming Bot API updates, user identifiers will become bigger than 2^31 - 1 and it will be no longer possible to store them in a signed 32-bit integer type. User identifiers will have up to 52 significant bits, so a 64-bit integer or double-precision float type would still be safe for storing them. Please make sure that your code can correctly handle such user identifiers.
Forwarded from BotNews
Clarification: some user identifiers, but not all will become bigger than 2^31 - 1.
Forwarded from Durov's Channel
With today’s update, we're giving every Telegram user the power to run their own radio station (later this Spring: TV station) without adding any complexity to our apps.

I’m proud we were able to roll out this new version of Telegram just 3 weeks after our previous major update. What’s more, this came at no expense to the quality of new features – you’ll experience the high speed, wide functionality and slick animations that you love Telegram for.

The update has been approved by both Apple and Google for several hours now. Due to Apple’s tech issues, iOS users may have to wait a few more hours for the new version to hit the store. Users of all other platforms can already enjoy Voice Chats 2.0 and other features.
Forwarded from Durov's Channel
🎉 More good news – I am happy to share that Telegram has raised over $1 billion by selling bonds (a form of debt) to some of the largest and most knowledgeable investors from all over the world. This will enable Telegram to continue growing globally while sticking to its values and remaining independent. These resources will also fuel the monetization strategy I outlined in December.

As I said when launching Telegram almost 8 years ago, the end goal for Telegram is to become a financially sustainable project that can serve humanity for decades (or centuries) to come. Today's news is another step towards that goal.
Forwarded from BotNews
Bot API 5.2

• Added support for Payments 2.0, including inline mode for invoices.
• Added the field chat_type to the class InlineQuery.
• And more, see the full changelog for details.

https://core.telegram.org/bots/api-changelog#april-26-2021
Forwarded from Durov's Channel
The New York Times uncovered that Apple is involved in large-scale surveillance and censorship at the behest of China. It is sad, but not surprising: big tech companies often choose profits over freedoms.

Apple is very efficient at pursuing their business model, which is based on selling overpriced, obsolete hardware to customers locked in their ecosystem.

Every time I have to use an iPhone to test our iOS app I feel like I’m thrown back into the Middle Ages. The iPhone’s 60Hz displays can’t compete with the 120Hz displays of modern Android phones that support much smoother animations.

The worst part of Apple’s tech though is not clunkier devices or outdated hardware. Owning an iPhone makes you a digital slave of Apple – you are only allowed to use apps that Apple lets you install via their App Store, and you can only use Apple’s iCloud to natively back up your data.

It’s no wonder that Apple’s totalitarian approach is so appreciated by the Communist Party of China, which – thanks to Apple – now has complete control over the apps and data of all its citizens who rely on iPhones.
Forwarded from Durov's Channel
Yesterday Telegram experienced a record increase in user registration and activity.

The daily growth rate of Telegram exceeded the norm by an order of magnitude, and we welcomed over 70 million refugees from other platforms in one day. I am proud of how our team handled the unprecedented growth because Telegram continued to work flawlessly for the vast majority of our users. That said, some users in the Americas may have experienced slower speed than usual as millions of users from these continents rushed to sign up for Telegram at the same time.

I ask our existing users to say hi to their newly arrived friends, help them unpack, and let them know what we have in stock. Make sure they stick around and see why Telegram is light years ahead of the competition.

For the new users I’d like to say this – welcome to Telegram, the largest independent messaging platform. We won’t fail you when others will.