2021-12-31 19:05:15🥳✨ 2021 was a phenomenal year for Telegram. It became the most downloaded app in the world in January, managed to welcome 70 million new users in just one day in October, and was declared the fastest growing app of the year in December.
We know we owe this growth to you – our users – so we carefully listened to your feedback and kept making Telegram better for you throughout the year. Yesterday we released our 12th major update this year, packed with the features you requested – like reactions and message translation 👌
With each update we try to not simply add a missing feature, but instead expand its boundaries and redefine how it looks, feels and works. We hope that this approach can improve the quality of human communication and bring more efficiency, happiness and joy to the world 💫
The spoiler animations we just rolled out are pure magic, while the custom animated QR codes in this update make QRs sexy again. The newly added message reactions are already spectacular, but it's just the start: we are now busy finding ways to make them even more stunning 🔥
I'm grateful for your love of Telegram and excited by what we can do for you in 2022. Thank you – and have a glorious New Year! 🎄
A recent report has proven that Telegram sticks to its promise of keeping its user data private, while apps like WhatsApp give real-time user data to third parties, and despite their numerous claims about "E2E encryption", can also disclose message contents.
The report has confirmed that Telegram is one of the few messaging apps that doesn't breach their users’ trust.
I am not surprised. Most other apps couldn't guarantee privacy to their users even if they wanted to. Because their engineers reside in the US, they have to secretly implement backdoors in their apps when the US government orders them to. If an engineer speaks publicly about it, then can go to jail for breaching a gag order.
In most cases the agencies don't even need a court order to extract private information from messaging apps such as WhatsApp, and in other cases, court documents are shrouded in secrecy. Some supposedly secure apps have been funded by government agencies from their inception (e.g Anom, Signal).
For many years the National Security Agency (NSA) has been making sure that international encryption standards are in line with what the NSA can decipher, and all other approaches to encryption are labeled as "non-standard" or "home-brew". Through their proxies in the encryption industry (like this one), the NSA imposed flawed standards onto the encryption used by the rest of the world, cautioning everyone else from "rolling out their own encryption".
No wonder US-based apps such as WhatsApp are plagued with backdoors – intentionally planted security loopholes that governments (and anybody else) can use to hack smartphones and extract private data from people.
I hear our US-based competitors are frustrated that they can't match Telegram's growth, despite heavily investing in marketing (something Telegram has never had to invest in). But in order to match our growth, they have to first make sure their actions match their marketing claims. Until then, data breaches and security issues in their apps will, unfortunately, remain unavoidable.
When Telegram said goodbye to TON last year, I expressed the hope that future generations of developers would one day carry on with our vision of a mass-market blockchain platform.
So I was inspired to see the champions of Telegram's coding contests continue developing the open TON project, which they rebranded to Toncoin.
I'm proud that the technology we created is alive and evolving. When it comes to scalability and speed, TON is still years ahead of everything else in the blockchain realm. It would have been a shame to see this project not benefitting humanity.
Unlike the original TON, Toncoin is independent from Telegram. But I wish its team the same success. Coupled with the right go-to-market strategy, they have all they need to build something epic 💪
Telegram is launching Sponsored Messages – a tool that allows anyone to promote their channels and bots. Here is what you should know:
1. There will be no ads in chats on Telegram. If you use Telegram as the messenger that we launched in 2013 – you will never see a sponsored message. Sponsored messages can't appear in your chat list, private chats or groups.
2. User data will not be used to target ads. As with everything we do, our main priority is protecting the private data of our users. That's why unlike other apps we will not use your private data to display ads.
Sponsored messages on Telegram are shown only in large public one-to-many channels with 1000+ members – and are based solely on the topic of the public channels in which they are shown. This means that no user data is mined or analyzed to display them.
3. Sponsored messages will be unobtrusive. Official sponsored messages are limited to 160 characters of text – without media or external links. You may see a maximum of one sponsored message per channel – and only after you’ve finished reading any new posts.
4. We are fixing ads that are already here. Some admins of one-to-many channels on Telegram already post ads in the form of regular messages. We hope that Sponsored Messages will offer a more user-friendly and less chaotic way for people to promote their channels and bots.
Sponsored messages are currently in test mode and are not available to everyone. Once they are fully launched and allow Telegram to cover its basic costs (such as equipment and data centers that are used by channel admins to deliver their content to our hundreds of millions of users), we plan to start sharing ad revenue with the admins of the channels where Sponsored Messages are displayed – because it is fair.
5. With Telegram you're more ad-free than with WhatsApp. WhatsApp already shares user data with advertisers   – even though they don’t show ads themselves. On Telegram, however, advertisers will never get your private data. Besides, if you use Telegram the way you use WhatsApp, you will never see a single ad. Sponsored messages can only appear in channels, which are a unique social networking feature Telegram added several years after launch. If WhatsApp introduces a similar feature, they are likely to also display ads there, like their parent company already does on Instagram and Facebook.
Online ads should no longer be synonymous with the abuse of user privacy. We'd like to redefine how a tech company should operate by setting an example of a self-sustainable platform that respects its users and content creators.
2021-10-10 21:12:16🎂 As I am turning 37, I put together a list of 3 undervalued and 7 overvalued things in life.
1. Sleep. Sleep gives a boost to immunity, creativity and psychological well-being.
2. Nature. Nature is the environment that we are biologically designed to feel good in.
3. Solitude. Being alone offers the freedom to make spiritual and intellectual breakthroughs.
1. Big cities. Big cities are sources of pollution, crime and noise. It's good to have access to their resources, but advisable to live outside their borders.
2. Restaurants. Restaurants offer the slowest and least efficient way to eat. Cooking at home allows for healthier diets and more control over ingredients.
3. Hot weather. Sunny weather can bring about not only a lax attitude, but also a risk of cancer and faster aging. Colder temperatures, on the contrary, clarify spirit, body and mind.
4. Fashion. The endless quest to conform with ever-changing trends is expensive and unnecessary. Focusing on comfortable clothes makes life simpler and frees space for things that matter.
5. Real estate. Buying real estate often limits one's choices and is a questionable investment. Renting gives more freedom to move and explore different locations.
6. Social media. The incessant flow of junk cluttering our minds from social media decreases our happiness and creativity. Disconnecting from these internet services is the best thing we can do on any given day.
7. Celebrity advice. Famous people often give unwarranted advice outside their fields of expertise. For all important things in life, it's best to rely on hard science and expert opinion.
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.
On Telegram, people can publicly express reasonable concerns about vaccines. Large Telegram channels are one of the few remaining places on the Internet where users can raise their voice against various anti-Covid measures, which they feel have restricted their rights.
What Telegram does not allow, however, is the distribution of calls for violence via public channels. Inciting violence has been prohibited by the Terms of Service of Telegram since 2015, so we take action every time this line is crossed. Yesterday we had to shut down an Italian channel "stopdittatura", which incited subscribers to harm medical doctors and other public officials related to vaccinations. Unfortunately, the channel admins failed to act even after our team warned them about the violation.
We also had to block a similar German public channel "menschenreise_diskussion", which, just like "stopdittatura", had over 40,000 subscribers and actively incited violence against doctors. Such channels violate Telegram's rules, the rules of Apple and Google and also local laws.
It's OK to fight for your rights. It's not OK to harm other people.
I wrote a detailed post explaining why Telegram sometimes has to take unusual actions in content moderation, such as following the policies of Google and Apple when they suspended a voting app last week.
TLDR; Had the position of Apple and Google been different, we could have avoided complying with a local law that prescribed content moderation last weekend. However, picking a fight with these two tech companies AND a government at the same time results in an immediate shutdown of Telegram for millions of users. Such wars have a heavy price and should only be started in cases when the requirement of a law is in direct contradiction with human rights.
Telegram gives its users more freedom than any other app. If Telegram has to temporarily remove some content due to a law, it means that other platforms would have removed it long before us.
If you are in the mood for a long read, check out the whole post.
Another major Telegram update is out now after having been finally approved by Apple. It is packed with unique features that expand the boundaries of what a messaging app can do. Check them out.
This new version of Telegram also contains an important upgrade that will allow our apps to work without interruption. Until now, Telegram used 32-bit values for the identifiers of users and channels. Due to its fast growth, Telegram had been quickly approaching the maximum number of 32-bit IDs, which is about 2.1 billion.
That's why for the last 12 months we've been rebuilding nearly all of our apps, storage architecture and scripts to migrate to the 64-bit range (so we can expand to other galaxies without any issues). The latest update is critical to let new users sign up for Telegram and existing users keep creating channels and groups.
After updating Telegram, some users may have to wait a minute or two for their chat database to be optimized for 64 bits. We are also investigating a few reports from the Android users that are facing connection issues after updating the app. We are fixing this, but if you don't want to wait, logging out and in again will help.
The mind is our most powerful tool. There's nothing it can't do. According to numerous studies, it actively generates new ideas even when we rest or do nothing. Often we can come up with solutions to difficult problems simply after a full night's sleep.
Just as our physical state depends on what we feed to our bodies, our mental state depends on the quality of information we feed to our brain. If we nourish our brain with real-life data that allows it to solve fundamental problems, it will process this data in the background and come up with unexpected solutions.
It is unfortunate that most people prefer to feed their minds not with real-life facts that can let us change the world, but with random Netflix series or TikTok videos. On a deep level, our brain can't tell fiction from reality, so the abundance of digital entertainment keeps our subconscious mind busy producing solutions to problems that do not exist.
To be creative and productive, we must first clear from our minds the sticky mud of irrelevant content with which “recommendation algorithms” flood it on a daily basis. If we are to reclaim our creative freedom, we must first take back control of our minds.
We generally assume that the world is becoming a better place every year. But when it comes to individual freedoms, the opposite is true. Most studies show humanity is now less free than several years ago.
20 years ago we had decentralized Internet and a relatively unrestricted banking system. Today, Apple and Google censor information and apps on our phones while Visa and Mastercard limit what goods and services we can pay for. Every year we give up more power and control over our lives to a handful of unaccountable corporate executives we didn't elect.
Most of us willingly carry tracking devices – our phones – and allow corporations to use our private data to target us with content that keeps us distracted with low-quality entertainment. Unlike 20 years ago, we are now surrounded by surveillance cameras, which in countries like China use AI to make sure nobody can hide.
In 2017, China overtook the US as the largest economy in the world by purchasing power, showing the world that individual freedoms are not required for economic development. Looking at China's success, more countries become authoritarian, curbing essential human rights such as freedom of speech, movement and assembly.
Who is going to fix it?
The most active and creative minds of our generation are too busy playing in the rapidly shrinking sandbox called "free enterprise" or producing digital content to keep everyone else glued to their devices for longer. The rest seem to be too distracted with the abundance of cheap digital entertainment to critically assess the trend and take action.
Watching this, I wonder what will become the legacy of our generation. Will we go down in history as those who let free societies turn into dystopian nightmares? Or will we be remembered as those who defended the freedoms that previous generations fought so hard to win?
2021-08-14 19:58:07🎂8️⃣ It’s hard to believe it’s been 8 years since Telegram first appeared in the App Store.
According to research published last week, Telegram became the 7th most downloaded application worldwide in 2020. This is not surprising: for the last several years, Telegram has been the most feature-rich and user-friendly messaging app in the world.
And yet, every single feature we add makes me think of new improvements we are yet to implement. It’s like reaching a peak of a mountain only to discover greater heights to climb from the new vantage point. That is what makes this journey so exciting.
Thank you all for believing in Telegram early. And even if you just joined Telegram yesterday, it is still very early. From here, we shall reach new heights 🏔
Every few decades there is a drastic change in how we view important societal and scientific problems. What used to be a ridiculous idea yesterday can become the predominant opinion today, only to turn into an obsolete notion tomorrow.
In the history of human beliefs, change is the only constant. Most people living in 1921 shared views that today are considered quaint at best, and dangerous at worst. The chances that our present-day convictions will remain relevant by 2121 are slim.
In fact, we won't even have to wait 100 years, as the speed of change is accelerating. A good example is how quickly humanity changed its mind over the origins of Covid.
Just a year ago, the idea that the virus originated from a Wuhan Lab was dismissed as a conspiracy theory. Facebook, Twitter and other social media platforms blocked posts promoting the lab leak theory. Today, however, this theory is on its way to becoming the mainstream scientific view of how the virus originated.
Such instances make combating fake news and misinformation particularly challenging. They can also fundamentally undermine people's trust in the neutrality of social media platforms, and jeopardize future efforts to fight misinformation.
Telegram never blocked posts discussing the lab leak theory, because we didn't think it's our role to decide for our users what they should believe. At the same time, we felt that our users had the right to be informed about Covid by official sources that reflected scientific consensus. That's why we worked with 19 governments to help them reach out to every Telegram user in their countries with up-to-date information on the pandemic.
Today we call upon more governments to join the Telegram anti-Covid initiative to make sure more people around the world get access critical knowledge that can save lives.
In my 20 years of managing discussion platforms, I noticed that conspiracy theories only strengthen each time their content is removed by moderators. Instead of putting an end to wrong ideas, censorship often makes it harder to fight them. That’s why spreading the truth will always be a more efficient strategy than engaging in censorship.
The phones of 50,000 individuals, including human rights activists and journalists, have been targeted by surveillance tools that were used by numerous governments. These tools can hack any iOS and Android phone, and there is no way to protect your device from it. It doesn't matter which apps you use, because the system is breached on a deeper level.
According to the Snowden revelations from 2013, both Apple and Google are part of the global surveillance program that implies that these companies have to, among other things, implement backdoors into their mobile operating systems. These backdoors, usually disguised as security bugs, allow US agencies to access information on any smartphone in the world.
The problem with such backdoors is that they are never exclusive to just one party. Anybody can exploit them. So if a US security agency can hack an iOS or Android phone, any other organization that uncovers these backdoors can do the same. Unsurprisingly, this is exactly what has been taking place: an Israeli company called NSO Group has been selling access to the spying tools that allowed third parties to hack tens of thousands of phones.
Since at least 2018, I have been aware that one of my phone numbers was included in a list of potential targets of such surveillance tools (although a source from the NSO Group denies it). Personally, I wasn't worried: since 2011, when I was still living in Russia, I’ve got used to assuming that all my phones were compromised. Anyone who gains access to my private data will be utterly disappointed – they will have to go through thousands of concept designs for Telegram features and millions of messages related to our product development process. They won't find any important information there.
However, these surveillance tools are also used against people far more prominent than me. For example, they were employed to spy on 14 heads of state. The existence of backdoors in crucial infrastructure and software creates a huge challenge for humanity. That's why I have been calling upon the governments of the world to start acting against the Apple-Google duopoly in the smartphone market and to force them to open their closed ecosystems and allow for more competition.
So far, even though the current market monopolization increases costs and violates privacy and freedom of speech of billions, government officials have been very slow to act. I hope the news that they themselves have been targeted by these surveillance tools will prompt politicians to change their minds.
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.
📹 Speaking of video calls, we will be adding a video dimension to our voice chats in May, making Telegram a powerful platform for group video calls. Screen sharing, encryption, noise-cancellation, desktop and tablet support – everything you can expect from a modern video conferencing tool, but with Telegram-level UI, speed and encryption. Stay tuned!
Really excited about the recently launched web versions of Telegram https://webk.telegram.org and https://webz.telegram.org 🎉
They are light years ahead of what any other social media service has to offer on the web: fast, slick, fluid, light, feature-rich. To make them 100% complete in features, we are currently testing a functional version of web-based video calls internally, which will be added soon.
WebK and WebZ are by far the most cross-platform versions of Telegram we shipped so far - you can instantly access your chats from both mobile and desktop directly from your web browser. No downloads, no installs.
This is particularly good for corporate environments where installing native apps is not always allowed, but also good for users who like the instant nature of web sites.
2021-04-03 16:02:02🎂 My Mom’s turning 70 today. She is the main reason I am who I am today. In school I was a self-willed kid that often clashed with teachers. My mom always supported me - she never sided with anybody but her sons.
She is kind and full of energy, but also one of the smartest and wisest people I know. Born in a princely family that had been deported to Siberia from Kiev during the October Revolution, she studied in Russia's best universities, lived in Germany for several years and then Italy where she educated students.
2021-03-23 17:31:35🎉 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.
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 of 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.
2021-02-11 16:49:04Why 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.
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 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.