Eldiara
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Thoughts from the Product Manager / CEO / Founder of Telegram.
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Last night Telegram was down for about an hour in Europe due to hardware malfunctioning. Some iOS users who tried to access Telegram during this time may have been logged out and will unfortunately have to relogin.

We have already fixed the iOS app and the update is on the way to the App Store. We are also tweaking our networking software to minimize the risk of such issues in the future.

Telegram has a unique custom-built multi-datacenter infrastructure spread across the globe. This approach allows us to make things very efficient in terms of speed, security and cost, but can also pose some challenges in times of rapid growth. Each week, at least 10 million new users sign up for Telegram, and we are constantly scaling both our software and hardware.

Apologies for the downtime. We know how important it is for you to be able to access your messages 24/7 and we are working hard to achieve 100% uptime.
Some users asked whether comments will become the default mode for channels. While we think it’s fun to comment on channels, most channels don’t need commenting, so it will remain optional and disabled by default.

That said, native comments are a great upgrade for channels that had been previously relying on the web comments bot. Native comments are faster, more feature-rich for posting and moderating, and have built-in reply notifications.

Some users rightly pointed out that Telegram native comments look like chats rather than the two-level comments you can find on social networks. That’s exactly the point - Telegram is not a social network, but a messaging app.

While many people successfully use Telegram to distribute information among millions of users (posts broadcasted by channels generate over 350 billion views monthly), Telegram will remain an easy-to-use minimalist tool, with chats at the center of the user experience.
Apple is requesting that we shut down 3 channels used by the people of Belarus to expose the identities of their oppressors.

@karatelibelarusi
@chatpartizan
@belarusassholes

Their concern is that publishing the personal information of law enforcers and propagandists may incite violence.

I think this situation is not black and white and would rather leave the channels be, but typically Apple doesn’t offer much choice for apps like Telegram in such situations. Unfortunately, I assume these channels will end up getting blocked on iOS, but remain available on other platforms.

P. S. Everyone is welcome to express their views and comment on this post provided they stay on-topic and use English. Thanks!
Apple released a statement saying they didn't want us to take down the 3 channels run by the Belarusian protestors, but just specific posts "disclosing personal information."

This sly wording ignores the fact that channels like @karatelibelarusi and @belarusassholes consist entirely of personal information of violent oppressors and those who helped rig the elections – because that is why those channels exist.

By hiding their demands with vague language, Apple is trying to avoid the responsibility of enforcing their own rules. It is understandable: according to this poll, over 94% of Belarusian users think the channels that made Apple worry should be left alone.

Previously, when removing posts at Apple’s request, Telegram replaced those posts with a notice that cited the exact rule limiting such content for iOS users. However, Apple reached out to us a while ago and said our app is not allowed to show users such notices because they were “irrelevant”.

Similarly, when Facebook wanted to inform its users that 30% of the fees users were paying for online events went to Apple, Apple didn’t let Facebook do it saying this information was (once more) “irrelevant”.

I strongly disagree with Apple’s definition of “irrelevant”. I think the reason certain content was censored or why the price is 30% higher is the opposite of irrelevant.

Apple has the right to be greedy and formalistic (or maybe not – that’s something for the courts and regulators to decide). But it’s time Apple learned to assume responsibility for their policy instead of trying to hide it from users – they deserve to know.
As I’m turning 36, some people ask how I manage to look younger than my age. I’ve asked the same question of many people who age well (from Jared Leto to a random fitness trainer who looks like 25 at 50). Here’s what all of these young-looking individuals do (and don’t):

1. AVOID alcohol. There may be some rare exceptions, but in general, alcohol (as well as other addictive substances) makes people less healthy and visually older.

2. Sleep a LOT. Sleep is when your body repairs itself. You can’t borrow it: lack of sleep during the week can’t be compensated with oversleeping on the weekend.

3. Do NOT overeat. Excessive weight makes people look older and correlates with dozens of illnesses. Typically I eat twice a day within a 6-hour window or once a day, no snacking. Eating 3+ times a day is just a (bad) habit.

4. EXERCISE. Moderate but regular exercise makes people look healthier and live longer. Personally, I don’t do much cardio (I’d rather walk/cycle/swim in the open air) and prefer moderate weights.

5. LIMIT stress. There are mental habits that help. It helps to believe that everything that happens is for the better. Stoic techniques such as negative visualisation and generally not giving a shit also work. Living close to nature makes all of the above easier.

6. Do NOT eat meat. Eating seafood and wild-caught fish is fine, but farmed red meat is something most people who look younger than their age avoid. I suspect the unhealthy nature of farmed meat has to do with the way livestock is raised and killed (growth hormones, fodder etc).

7. Live ALONE. Surprisingly, all the young-looking, middle-aged men I spoke with lived alone for most of their lives. It may be the result of their independence from the sleeping/eating/behavioral patterns of another person. Or it’s just correlation, and people who are independent from unhealthy societal norms are also independent in their personal lives.

Interestingly, you can find scientific explanations for most of these points (even the last one is defensible, e.g. there are multiple studies showing that sleeping alone improves the quality of sleep). I’ve been following these rules for over 10 years, with "more sleep" being the most difficult due to the nature of my work.

If you are twice as young as I am and looking for the key takeaway, here it is: NEVER DRINK ALCOHOL. Once you give up on alcohol, you’ll stop silencing your intuition, which will tell you what is good and what is bad for you. You will figure out everything you need to know by yourself and won’t depend on other people for advice.
Thanks to everyone for the birthday wishes. The celebration inspired me to create another one of our #telegram_office_posters
Happy Halloween everyone! 🎃

I hope you liked yesterday’s Telegram update with multi-pins, proximity alerts, playlists and other features.

I just realized I've been using the Android Halloween theme for most of this year, as it goes well with the general mood of 2020.

If you're also on Android, check it out using this link – or choose a similar theme in your Chat Settings among the Dark Theme presets. It works best with the Halloween-inspired side bar, which users of Telegram for Android should be seeing today.

For iOS and Mac, this link should install the Halloween theme.

Do you like this month's trending sticker packs? My personal favorites so far are HalloweenUtya and ShadowKitty (but only because the creator of PepeVampire didn’t come up with enough stickers to get featured).

Feel free to share your favorite Telegram themes and sticker packs in the comments.
Just tried an iPhone 12 Pro – what an incredibly clunky piece of hardware. It looks and feels like an oversized version of an iPhone 5 from 2012, but with an ugly array of cameras sticking out at three different heights. The notorious notch and wide bezels are still there, creating a low screen-to-body ratio and general outdated feeling for the device.

9 years after Steve Jobs died, the company is still living off the technology and reputation he built, without any meaningful innovation. It’s no surprise iPhone sales were down by 21% earlier this year. If this trend continues, in 7-10 years time the global market share of iPhones will be negligible.
As Telegram approaches 500 million active users, many of you are asking the question – who is going to pay to support this growth? After all, more users mean more expenses for traffic and servers. A project of our size needs at least a few hundred million dollars per year to keep going.

For most of Telegram’s history, I paid for the expenses of the company from my personal savings. However, with its current growth Telegram is on track to reach billions of users and to require appropriate funding. When a tech project reaches this scale, typically there are two options – start earning money to cover the costs, or sell the company.

Hence the question – which path will Telegram take? I’d like to make a few points to clarify our plan:

1. We are not going to sell the company like the founders of Whatsapp. The world needs Telegram to stay independent as a place where users are respected and high-quality service is ensured. Telegram must continue to serve the world as an example of a tech company that strives for perfection and integrity. And, as the sad examples of our predecessors show, that is impossible if you become part of a corporation.

2. Telegram is here to stay for a long time. We began developing our apps for our personal use over 8 years ago and have come a long way since then. In the process, Telegram changed the way people communicate in several aspects – encryption, functionality, simplicity, design, speed. This journey has just started. There’s much more we can – and will – bring to the world.

3. In order to make points 1 and 2 possible, Telegram will begin to generate revenue, starting next year. We will do it in accordance with our values and the pledges we have made over the last 7 years. Thanks to our current scale, we will be able to do it in a non-intrusive way. Most users will hardly notice any change.

4. All the features that are currently free will stay free. We will add some new features for business teams or power users. Some of these features will require more resources and will be paid for by these premium users. Regular users will be able to keep enjoying Telegram – for free, forever.

5. All parts of Telegram devoted to messaging will remain ad-free. We think that displaying ads in private 1-to-1 chats or group chats is a bad idea. Communication between people should be free of advertising of any sort.

6. In addition to its messaging component, Telegram has a social networking dimension. Our massive public one-to-many channels can have millions of subscribers each and are more like Twitter feeds. In many markets the owners of such channels display ads to earn money, sometimes using third-party ad platforms. The ads they post look like regular messages, and are often intrusive. We will fix this by introducing our own Ad Platform for public one-to-many channels – one that is user-friendly, respects privacy and allows us to cover the costs of servers and traffic.

7. If Telegram starts earning money, the community should also benefit. For example, If we monetize large public one-to-many channels via the Ad Platform, the owners of these channels will receive free traffic in proportion to their size. Or, if Telegram introduces premium stickers with additional expressive features, the artists who make stickers of this new type will also get a part of the profit. We want millions of Telegram-based creators and small businesses to thrive, enriching the experience of all our users.

This is the Telegram way.

It will allow us to keep innovating and keep growing for decades to come. We will be able to launch countless new features and welcome billions of new users. While doing that, we will remain independent and stay true to our values, redefining how a tech company should operate.

UPD: More on this topic – https://teleg.eu/durov/153
Today marks one of the most important product updates in the history of Telegram – Voice Chats 🎙

With Voice Chats, every group on Telegram gets a synchronous dimension that runs in parallel with its text-based stream. They are best on Android with overlays which are visible on top of other apps, but also look great on iOS with the sticky push-to-talk button and interactive animated waves. On Desktop, you can assign any shortcut to speak in Voice Chats while using other apps.

Check out the demos in the blog and make sure to update Telegram to the latest version:
https://t.me/s/usefulbm/voice-chats

P. S. Minor fixes may be required in the iOS app for slicker animations in large voice chats. We’ll be able to push them to the AppStore in 4 days when the responsible team at Apple returns from holidays.
🎇
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 [1]. 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 [2].

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 [3]. 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 [4]. 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 [5]. 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 [6]. WhatsApp, on the other hand, had zero encryption for a few years, and then adopted an encryption protocol funded by the US Government [7]. Even if we assume that the WhatsApp encryption is solid, it’s invalidated via multiple backdoors and reliance on backups [8].

In 2019 alone, Facebook spent almost 10 billion dollars on marketing [9] (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
[5] – On Digital Resistance in Russia
[6] – On Telegram Encryption
[7] – U.S. Government Funded The WhatsApp Encryption
[8] – Why WhatsApp Will Never Be Secure
[9] – Facebook Marketing Spending from 2010 to 2019
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://teleg.eu/durovschat/518801

On making server-side code open https://teleg.eu/durovschat/515221

On a privacy-conscious ad platform https://teleg.eu/durovschat/527441

On US-based encrypted apps https://teleg.eu/durovschat/519187

On encryption vs. usability when using Secret Chats vs Cloud Chats https://teleg.eu/durovschat/527081

On maximising security of communication https://teleg.eu/durovschat/527134

On storing hashed phone numbers https://teleg.eu/durovschat/551030

On how Telegram stores data https://teleg.eu/durovschat/544164
In the first week of January, Telegram surpassed 500 million monthly active users. After that it kept growing: 25 million new users joined Telegram in the last 72 hours alone. These new users came from across the globe – 38% from Asia, 27% from Europe, 21% from Latin America and 8% from MENA.

This is a significant increase compared to last year, when 1.5M new users signed up every day. We've had surges of downloads before, throughout our 7-year history of protecting user privacy. But this time is different.

People no longer want to exchange their privacy for free services. They no longer want to be held hostage by tech monopolies that seem to think they can get away with anything as long as their apps have a critical mass of users.

With half a billion active users and accelerating growth, Telegram has become the largest refuge for those seeking a communication platform committed to privacy and security. We take this responsibility very seriously. We won’t let you down.

Those of you who have used Telegram for the last several years know we’ve been consistent both when it comes to defending private data and to improving our apps. For those of you who just joined and are wondering what Telegram stands for, I’d like to quote my post from 2018:

You – our users – have been and will always be our only priority. Unlike other popular apps, Telegram doesn’t have shareholders or advertisers to report to. We don’t do deals with marketers, data miners or government agencies. Since the day we launched in August 2013 we haven’t disclosed a single byte of our users' private data to third parties.

We operate this way because we don’t regard Telegram as an organization or an app. For us, Telegram is an idea; it is the idea that everyone on this planet has a right to be free.
Since my last post, the already massive influx of new users to Telegram has only accelerated. We may be witnessing the largest digital migration in human history.

Following this global phenomenon, two presidents started their Telegram channels:

The President of Brazil – @jairbolsonarobrasil
The President of Turkey – @RTErdogan

They join a list of other heads of state already present on the platform:

The President of Mexico – @PresidenteAMLO
The President of France – @emmanuelmacron
The Prime Minister of Singapore – @leehsienloong
The President of Ukraine – @V_Zelenskiy_official
The President of Uzbekistan – @shmirziyoyev
The President of Taiwan – @iingtw
The Prime Minister of Ethiopia – @AbiyAhmedAliofficial
The Prime Minister of Israel – @bnetanyahu

(Note that such verified accounts typically show a blue check mark in your chat list and search results.)

We are honored that political leaders, as well as numerous public organizations, rely on Telegram to combat misinformation and spread awareness about important issues in their societies.

Unlike other networks, Telegram doesn’t use nontransparent algorithms to decide whether a subscriber will see content they subscribed to or not. As a result, Telegram channels are the only direct way for opinion leaders to reliably connect with their audiences.

By removing the manipulative algorithms that have become synonymous with 2010s technology platforms, Telegram channels restore transparency and integrity to public “one-to-many” communication.
For the last two weeks, the world has been following the events in the United States with concern. While the US represents less than 2% of our user base, we at Telegram have also been watching the situation closely.

Telegram welcomes peaceful debate and protest, but our Terms of Service explicitly prohibit distributing public calls to violence. In the last 7 years, we’ve consistently enforced this rule globally, from Belarus and Iran to Thailand and Hong Kong. Сivil movements all over the world rely on Telegram in order to stand up for human rights without resorting to inflicting harm.

In early January, the Telegram moderation team started to receive an increased number of reports about US-related public activity on our platform. The team acted decisively by clamping down on US channels that advocated violence.

Thanks to these efforts, last week our moderators blocked and shut down hundreds of public calls for violence that could’ve otherwise reached tens of thousands of subscribers. The team continues to process reports from users in addition to proactively removing content that directly incites violence.

I would like to thank everyone who reported public channels that crossed the line. Keep it up! We value each of your reports. Telegram welcomes political debate coming from all sides of the political spectrum – but will act swiftly to stop those who incite people to inflict harm on others.
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.
The "capitalism <-> socialism" opposition seems outdated. I prefer to think in terms of "centralization vs decentralization". Humans have evolved to perform best in small groups of less than 150 people. That's why wherever there's centralization and excessive hierarchy, there's inefficiency and underutilized human potential. Capitalist monopolies and socialist dictatorships are equally bad.

In a natural environment, every small community is able to produce an outstanding leader and an independent thinker. In today's world of trillion-dollar monopolies and bloated governments, the potential of hundreds of millions of people is suppressed by the limitations imposed by our artificial societal structures.

That is the reason why tens of thousands of people working at big corporations such as Facebook have failed to keep up with what our small team at Telegram has been implementing. That’s also the reason why countries like Russia fail to generate and retain global brands in their jurisdictions. Genuine creativity is rare in organizations and societies built on excessive hierarchies and lack of personal autonomy.
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.