Telegram chat app

Telegram, instant messaging client, has become much more to the fore in the last few weeks.

Its popularity is driven by its use in Ukraine and Russia. This should surprise anyone. The creator of the Telegram app is Pavel Durov, a Russian who created their Facebook equivalent called VK. VK proved too much for Putin and Durov had to sell. He now runs Telegram from Dubai. 

Telegram is regarded by its users as encrypted. However, by default, the encryption keys are held on Telegram servers allowing data to be read by Telegram staff, if they want to. The private chat feature, hidden in the menus, switches on end-to-end encryption. This keeps the encryption on devices and under the control of users. For this reason, privacy advocates advise the use of Signal, Matrix and other end to end encrypted chat apps. WhatsApp does use end to end encryption by default so, in theory, it is a better choice than Telegram. There is a different problem with WhatsApp. Facebook owns it, and it can harvest metadata and by linking to Facebook users' other data it allows an extensive profile to be developed for advertisers. 

I am not one for recommending messaging apps. There is always the minor matter of network effect. For you to talk to your friends then you have to use the same app. If you decide to be the person using Signal or Telegram and all your friends are using WhatsApp, then you chats will be sparse. 

I have installed Telegram and I have been looking at the Ukranian group chats in English. It is like rolling news. The app has yet to attract me as chat app but the features are at least as comprehensive as WhatsApp. 


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