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This is where I post thoughts about Telegram in a slightly less formal and more direct way than in the official Telegram blog.
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I see 3 million new users signed up for Telegram within the last 24 hours.

Good. We have true privacy and unlimited space for everyone.
It’s been 23 years since I first used a private messaging service, and 16 years since I first built my own. The number of electronic private conversations I’ve had over those years is enormous. I am certain this is also the case for you.

Over the last 10-20 years, each of us exchanged millions of messages with thousands of people. Most of those communication logs are stored somewhere in other people’s inboxes, outside of our reach. Relationships start and end, but messaging histories with ex-friends and ex-colleagues remain available forever.

It’s getting worse. Within the next few decades, the volume of our private data stored by our chat partners will easily quadruple.

An old message you already forgot about can be taken out of context and used against you decades later. A hasty text you sent to a girlfriend in school can come haunt you in 2030 when you decide to run for mayor. We have to admit: Despite all of our progress in encryption and privacy, we have very little actual control of our data. We can’t go back in time and erase things for other people.

Well, we couldn’t. Until today. Starting today, we are allowing every Telegram user to delete any message in a private conversation from both sides. It doesn’t matter who sent the message and when – you have complete control over it. You can even wipe out the whole conversation from both sides if you want to. No trace will be left on either side.

We know some people may get concerned about the potential misuse of this feature or about the permanence of their chat histories. We thought carefully through those issues, but we think having control over your own digital footprint should be paramount.

Looking through my Telegram inbox now, there’s not much I would want to delete for both sides. And yet, for the first time in 23 years of private messaging, I feel truly free and in control.
Today the Russian authorities tried to hack 4 journalists covering the Ekaterinburg protests. Fortunately, all those attempts have failed due to the 2-step verification check.

This serves as a reminder that authoritarian governments will stop at nothing to violate their citizens' privacy. We urge users in such countries to double check that they have 2-step verification set up.

Stay safe and stay strong 💪🏾
Those of you who follow my posts know that I’m a big believer in self-restraint. In the last 15 years, I’ve had no alcohol, no caffeine, no meat, no pills, and no fast food. Health-wise it brought good results: I only had a fever once in the last 15 years. Typically, I just don’t get ill.

A year ago I added more restrictions to my diet: no gluten, no dairy, no eggs, no fructose. I did it to achieve higher productivity and clarity of thought, as well as to train will power and self-discipline.

Another technique I employ to improve will power is swimming in ice-cold water every winter in Finland or Switzerland. If you ever faced the necessity to stay in a lake with a thin layer of ice on top for a few minutes, you are less likely to procrastinate when it comes to starting on a boring but necessary project.

In May I limited the foods I eat to fish and seafood only. In case you have daily access to fresh wild-caught fish, I can definitely recommend this diet for boosting productivity. Unlike farmed meat or the products of agriculture, which were introduced to our diet fairly recently (like 15,000 years ago), wild fish cooked on fire is something our ancestors evolved to consume throughout the last million of years. As humans required a daily source of water, they had to live near rivers and lakes, so a seagan diet makes much more sense to me than veganism or rawism from an evolutionary perspective.

This month I’m trying something more radical, with consuming no food at all. I’ve been on a water fast for the last 6 days and am feeling great so far. Since zero food consumption improves clarity of thought, I also got many things done on the product-management side.

Fasting is a great way to allow your digestive system to clean and reboot, and also to allow your immune system to work on other things than clearing the constantly incoming food. Our hunter-gatherer ancestors had to do with no food for prolonged periods of time, so our body is not only evolved for that, but is actually expecting us to give it a break in consumption at least once a year. That’s why most religions have a tradition of fasting – it’s healthy and necessary both for the body and the mind.

Obviously, I might lose some muscle mass as a result, but I believe that if I manage to come up with new great ideas for Telegram during the fast, it will be beneficial for all of the millions of Telegram users. And making the lives of our users more enjoyable has been and will be my number one priority.
Telegram turns 6 years today. Throughout these years, Telegram stood up for freedom and privacy. We defended what we believe in against tyrannies, kleptocracies and corporations.

Today, 6 years after launch, Telegram is the third largest global messaging app in terms of the number of countries where Telegram is in top 10 Social Networking apps.

Let us celebrate today. Tomorrow we’ll get back to building new features. There’s a lot of exciting work left to do.
🥳
In May, I predicted that backdoors in WhatsApp would keep getting discovered, and one serious security issue would follow another, as it did in the past [1]. This week a new backdoor was quietly found in WhatsApp [2]. Just like the previous WhatsApp backdoor and the one before it, this new backdoor made all data on your phone vulnerable to hackers and government agencies. All a hacker had to do was send you a video – and all your data was at the attacker’s mercy [3].

WhatsApp doesn’t only fail to protect your WhatsApp messages – this app is being consistently used as a Trojan horse to spy on your non-WhatsApp photos and messages. Why would they do it? Facebook has been part of surveillance programs long before it acquired WhatsApp [4][5]. It is naive to think the company would change its policies after the acquisition, which has been made even more obvious by the WhatsApp founder’s admission regarding the sale of WhatsApp to Facebook: “I sold my users’ privacy” [6].

Following the discovery of this week’s backdoor, Facebook tried to confuse the public by claiming they had no evidence that the backdoor had been exploited by hackers [7]. Of course, they have no such evidence – in order to obtain it, they would need to be able to analyze videos shared by WhatsApp users, and WhatsApp doesn’t permanently store video files on its servers (instead, it sends unencrypted messages and media of the vast majority of their users straight to Google’s and Apple’s servers [8]). So – nothing to analyze – “no evidence”. Convenient.

But rest assured, a security vulnerability of this magnitude is bound to have been exploited – just like the previous WhatsApp backdoor had been used against human rights activists and journalists naive enough to be WhatsApp users [9][10]. It was reported in September that the data obtained as a result of the exploitation of such WhatsApp backdoors will now be shared with other countries by US agencies [11][12].

Despite this ever-increasing evidence of WhatsApp being a honeypot for people that still trust Facebook in 2019, it might also be the case that WhatsApp just accidentally implements critical security vulnerabilities across all their apps every few months. I doubt that – Telegram, a similar app in its complexity, hasn’t had any issues of WhatsApp-level severity in the six years since its launch. It’s very unlikely that anyone can accidentally commit major security errors, conveniently suitable for surveillance, on a regular basis.

Regardless of the underlying intentions of WhatsApp’s parent company, the advice for their end-users is the same: unless you are cool with all your photos and messages becoming public one day, you should delete WhatsApp from your phone.

[1] – Why WhatsApp will never be secure

[2] – WhatsApp users urged to update app immediately over spying fears

[3] – WhatsApp Android and iOS users are now at risk from malicious video files

[4] – Everything you need to know about PRISM

[5] – NSA taps data from 9 major Net firms

[6] – WhatsApp co-founder Brian Acton: 'I sold my users' privacy'

[7] – Hackers can use a WhatsApp flaw in the way it handles video to take control of your phone

[8] – WhatsApp is storing unencrypted backup data on Google Drive

[9] – WhatsApp hack led to targeting of 100 journalists and dissidents

[10] – Exclusive: Government officials around the globe targeted for hacking through WhatsApp - sources

[11] – Police can access suspects’ Facebook and WhatsApp messages in deal with US

[12] – Facebook, WhatsApp Will Have to Share Messages With U.K.
Telegram keeps growing at a rate of ~50% annually in DAU. This extraordinary growth, unfortunately, still comes with certain growing pains.

Yesterday from 1PM to 2PM GMT about 15% of users who were online at that time experienced connection issues on Telegram. This disruption mainly affected users from Germany, Iraq, Uzbekistan, Russia, Ukraine, Kazakhstan and Belarus.

We apologize for each of the messages we failed to deliver during that hour. We are striving to make our platform as reliable as possible. We are proud that, even despite some attempts to disrupt its availability (like the DDoS from China in June), every year Telegram becomes less prone to such issues.
For the past several years, we’ve been fighting the spread of terrorist content on Telegram. We’ve been doing it in a way that is consistent with our values and Privacy Policy. While some pundits quite irresponsibly suggested that absolute privacy and counter-terrorism efforts are mutually exclusive, the success of our regular anti-terror actions prove that this is not the case.

Yesterday Europol recognized our continuous efforts in their statement:

“Telegram is no place for violence, criminal activity and abusers. The company has put forth considerable effort to root out the abusers of the platform by both bolstering its technical capacity in countering malicious content and establishing close partnerships with international organisations such as Europol. 

Thanks to this collaboration, the already-existing content referral tools available to Telegram’s users have been strengthened and expanded. Now, any user is able to refer and classify the content they find inappropriate and violent via the referral feature in public groups and channels. In addition, new technical developments, such as the advanced automated content detection system, continue to strengthen Telegram’s effort in obliterating extremism on the platform even further.”

This follows another Europol report dedicated to the Referral Action Day, in which several tech companies including Telegram took part:

“Whilst Google and Instagram deployed resilience mechanisms across their services, Telegram was the online service provider receiving most of the referral requests during this Action Day. As a result, a significant portion of key actors within the IS network on Telegram was pushed away from the platform. 

In the past year and a half, Telegram has also put forth considerable effort to root out the abusers of the platform by both bolstering its technical capacity in countering malicious content and by establishing a close partnership with Europol.”

As I have made clear before, ISIS and their likes will have a hard time on Telegram if they continue to spread their message of violence and hatred. After the ISIS attacks in Europe we have zero tolerance for their propaganda on our platform. At the same time, we’ll continue to defend our users' absolute right to privacy like no other service, proving that you don’t have to sacrifice privacy for security. You can – and should – enjoy both.
This month we have verified and promoted 17 official news sources, representing Ministries of Health in 17 countries (the constantly growing list is available in @corona). We did this as part of our anti-covid19 initiative announced in early April. While Telegram is not exactly famous for cooperating with government officials, we decided to make one exception globally to help spread information about the virus.

The current pandemic is a threat to our entire species. When it ends, the world will not return to normal. We may witness a civilizational shift that will ripple through generations. It is up to all of us to ensure that the new world about to be born is a better place than the one we're leaving behind.

This is a chance for people to use their time in isolation to create a better version of themselves – and a chance for technology to prove its worth for humanity. I believe we at Telegram should do all we can not only to help contain the pandemic and combat the spread of unverified information – but also to find new ways of moving forward.

For this reason, in addition to providing informational support, we’ll try to contribute to tackling the problem of education under lockdown. We also have several other anti-covid19 projects in the works at Telegram.

I will announce more details in the next few days on the Telegram Blog.

Stay tuned. And stay safe.
In April 2018, Russia’s telecom regulator Roskomnadzor blocked Telegram on the country’s territory. We knew it was coming, so by the time the block went live, we had already upgraded the Telegram apps with support for rotating proxy servers, ways to hide traffic and other anti-censorship tools. We were joined by thousands of Russian engineers that set up their own proxies for Telegram users, forming a decentralised movement called Digital Resistance.

The first week of the ban was challenging, and many of our users in Russia had connection issues. In an attempt to prevent users from accessing Telegram, Roskomnadzor blacklisted millions of IP addresses. However, thanks to Digital Resistance, after May 2018 Telegram became largely accessible in Russia.

As a result, Telegram’s user base in Russia hasn’t decreased – in fact, it has doubled since 2018. In May 2020, out of 400 million monthly active users of Telegram, at least 30 million were from Russia. It means that our growth in Russia has been in line with our growth in other countries. To put it simply, the ban didn’t work.

Last week, Roskomnadzor, which has a new director as of two months ago, decided to reflect reality by announcing that Telegram is no longer blocked in Russia. In their announcement, they referenced my June 4 message where I explained why the ban didn't make much sense.

This change should be welcomed – and I hope it will last. If it doesn’t, however, we hope few users will notice any difference.

Over the course of the last two years, we had to regularly upgrade our “unblocking” technology to stay ahead of the censors. I am proud of what we achieved – it is unique among social media apps.

We don’t want this technology to get rusty and obsolete. That is why we have decided to direct our anti-censorship resources into other places where Telegram is still banned by governments – places like Iran and China. We ask the admins of the former proxy servers for Russian users to focus their efforts on these countries. They should also stand ready for new challenges: as the political situation in the world becomes more unpredictable, more governments may try to block privacy-focused apps like Telegram.

The Digital Resistance movement doesn’t end with last week’s ceasefire in Russia. It is just getting started – and going global.
An update regarding the US court proceedings involving Telegram, which I described in May. Fortunately, it is over, as we reached a settlement with the US regulator. Here’s Telegram’s official statement in relation to today’s news:

Regrettably, we were unable to launch the TON platform by our deadline date due to the preliminary injunction ordered by the Court, and thus had to return the remaining funds to purchasers under our contractual agreements. Since we saw limited value in pursuing the court case further, we welcomed the opportunity to resolve it without admitting or denying our liability.

Today’s proposed settlement reconfirms our commitment to repay the remaining funds to purchasers under the Purchase Agreements. We’ve already repaid more than 1.2bn to the purchasers either directly or in the form of loans.

We look forward to continuing to pursue our other projects and avenues for innovation, and we hope the regulatory environment for blockchain technology in the US becomes more favorable for others in the future.


Telegram is among the top 10 most downloaded and most used apps in the world.

Thank you for loving us and for telling your friends about Telegram.

With every new Telegram user, the power flows back from the corporations to the people.
I hope you all liked the latest Telegram update – our 8th major update this year. This new version of Telegram could have become available to you several days earlier. But it didn’t, because of Apple’s desire to control every mobile app in the world. Few iPhone users realise how the policies of Apple make their lives worse. That’s why I decided to write the post below.
7 Reasons Every iPhone User Should Be Worried About the App Store’s 30% Tax

In the last few months, many prominent app developers voiced their disapproval of the App Store policies Apple imposes on all apps. Why should that concern you if you own an iPhone? Here are 7 reasons.

HIGHER PRICES. Apple’s 30% commission makes all apps and digital goods more expensive for you. It goes on top of the price you pay to developers for any services and games you buy on your phone. You pay more for every app, even though Apple already charged you a few hundred dollars more for your iPhone than it cost to make. In short, you keep paying even after you have paid.

CENSORSHIP. Some content in apps like Telegram is unavailable to you because Apple censors what is allowed on the App Store, which it fully controls to enforce the 30% tax. Apple even restricts us – app developers – from telling our users that certain content was hidden for iPhone users specifically at their request. Apple should realize how ridiculous their attempt to globally censor content looks: imagine a web browser deciding which websites you are allowed to view.

LACK OF PRIVACY. In order to install an app from the App Store, you must first create an Apple account and log in using it. After that, every single app you download and every push notification you receive is tied to your account, making you an easier target to track. Since the main reason you have to use an Apple account to download an iPhone app is Apple’s desire to enforce their 30% commission, the cost of their greed also includes your private data.

DELAYS IN APP UPDATES. You get new versions of your apps several days or weeks after they are actually ready, because Apple’s review team is notoriously inefficient and often delays approval for no apparent reason. You would think Apple could use the billions of dollars it receives from third-party apps to hire additional moderators. Somehow they are unable to do even that, and us – big apps like Telegram – typically have to wait several days or even weeks to publish updates.

FEWER APPS. Apple’s 30% commission on apps goes on top of all the other expenses developers must pay for: government taxes such as VAT (~20%), wages, research, servers, marketing. Many apps would have been net profitable in a world without Apple’s 30% commission, but being forced to surrender 30% of their revenue to Apple makes them unsustainable. As a result, many of them go bankrupt and lots of great apps you could have enjoyed just don’t exist.

MORE ADS IN APPS. Because Apple makes selling premium services and accepting donations one-third less meaningful for developers, many of them are forced to show ads in their apps in order for their companies to survive. Apple’s policies skew the entire industry towards selling user data instead of letting them adopt more privacy-friendly business models like selling additional services to their users.

WORSE APPS. Billions of dollars are taken from developers who could have otherwise spent those funds on improving the quality of the apps you use every day. Instead, this money rests idly in Apple’s offshore bank accounts and does nothing for the world, while app developers struggle to find resources for the research and development the world needs.

The situation is so bad that one would expect Apple’s 30% cut to be unsustainable. Yet it’s been around for more than 10 years and is still there. In my Telegraph post below, I'm explaining how Apple has been able to trick consumers and regulators into inaction for so long.