Telegram

WhatsApp copies Telegram to add one-way ‘broadcast’ mode to group chats

“Good artists borrow great artists steal” is a phrase that Facebook seems acutely aware of. It’s common to speak of Instagram, the Facebook-owned photo-app-now-social-network, borrowing from Snapchat, but now Facebook’s WhatsApp chat app is increasingly drawing its innovation from others such as Telegram. This week, WhatsApp outed a new feature for its groups that is essentially a replica of Telegram’s channels — that is, a one-way broadcast communication stream. Telegram channels are popular for setting up a broadcast news feed that allows people to sign up to get alerts from channel admins, who might be news agencies, companies, schools, public interest groups or more. Now WhatsApp is adding the feature to gives its message app new use cases. Actually, as is often the case for WhatsApp, ...

Telegram blocked in Iran as the government orders telecoms to cut off access

As Moscow erupts in protests over its own ban, Iran’s judiciary has just ordered the nation’s telecommunications providers to block Telegram . According to the Wall Street Journal, Iran’s Islamic Republic News Agency stated that the decision was issued via a court ruling in Tehran. An estimated 40 million Iranians — half of the country’s population — use Telegram to communicate. “Considering various complaints against Telegram social networking app by Iranian citizens, and based on the demand of security organisations for confronting the illegal activities of Telegram, the judiciary has banned its usage in Iran,” Iranian state TV reported, according to Reuters. As of Monday, Telegram appears to still be functioning in the country following the court order. When the ban is executed, the pop...

Russia’s Telegram ban that knocked out 15M Google, Amazon IP addresses had a precedent in Zello

Russia blocking access to Telegram after the messaging app refused to give it access to encrypted messages has picked up an unintended casualty: we’re now up to over 15 million IP addresses from Amazon and Google getting shut down by the regulators in the process, taking various other (non-Telegram) services down with it. Telegram’s CEO Pavel Durov earlier today said that its reach in the country has yet to see an impact from the ban 24 hours on, with VPNs, proxies and third-party cloud services stepping in to pick up the slack for its roughly 14 million users in the country, and third parties refusing to buckle under requests from Roskomnadzor, the regulator, to remove the app from its stores and servers. “Thank you for your support and loyalty, Russian users of Telegram. Thank you, Apple...

Russia starts blocking Telegram for failing to turn over encryption keys

The Russian state telecommunication regulator has began blocking Telegram as expected. This comes after the messaging company refused to give Russian security services encryption keys. The service is expected to be blocked within the coming hours. According to several reports Telegram is still operational in the country though several service providers have started blocking the company’s website. Ran by its Russian founder Pavel Durov, Telegram has over 200 million users and is a top-ten messaging service made popular by its strong stance on privacy. Telegram is recognized as an operator of information dissemination in Russia and therefore the company is required by Russian to provide keys to its encryption service to the Federal Security Service. This is so the FSS can reportedly read the...

Telegram has raised an initial $850M for its billion-dollar ICO

It looks like Telegram’s billion-dollar ICO has reached its first milestone after the chat app company raised an initial $850 million, according to a filing. A document submitted to the SEC earlier this week states that the money was raised “for the development of the TON Blockchain, the development and maintenance of Telegram Messenger and the other purposes.” The security is described as “purchase agreements for cryptocurrency” and the filing is signed by Telegram CEO Pavel Durov. This initial sum is most likely the pre-sale stage of the ICO which, as TechCrunch reported on extensively last month, was targeted at venture capital firms and top figures in the investment community who were given deep discounts to buy Telegram’s Gram token. The pre-sale was originally targeted at raising $60...

Telegram’s new widget lets businesses connect directly with users of its chat app

We know that messaging app Telegram has big plans — beyond a planned $1.2 billion ICO it is also developing its own platform for blockchain-based services — and today it took a notable step towards making its messaging platform more useful as it rolled out a web login widget. The new feature will allow website owners (business owners) to connect with Telegram users right from their site using a Telegram bot. Telegram has placed a lot of emphasis on bots, and matching them with a web plugin creates a system that could allow businesses to send reminders, confirmation of sales, updates and more information direct to customers via chats. Telegram is planning to introduce payments as part of its ambitious ICO project, so when you factor that it then this widget could enable users to pay for goo...

Telegram apps fall foul of iOS App Store content rules

The Telegram messaging apps appear to have breached Apple’s App Store guidelines and are currently unavailable for download on iOS. 9to5Mac spotted the absence yesterday, having been alerted via a Reddit thread. At the time of writing a search for Telegram on the App Store returns Viber, Skype, Messenger and WeChat chat apps, as the top results, but not Telegram. Both the original Telegram app and a rebuild, called Telegram X, which the messaging company officially announced for Android yesterday — billing it as a coding experiment aimed at speeding up development of the platform — have been taken off the iOS App Store for now. It’s not entirely clear what the problem is. But, responding to a Twitter user’s question about why both its iOS apps are AWOL, Telegram founder Pavel Durov tweeted...

Telegram and social media giants spanked in UK PM’s Davos speech

Social media giants have once again been singled out for a high profile public spanking over social responsibility and illegal online content in Europe. Giving a speech at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland this afternoon, UK prime minister Theresa May said: “Technology companies still need to do more in stepping up to their responsibilities for dealing with harmful and illegal online activity. “Companies simply cannot stand by while their platform’s are used to facilitate child abuse, modern slavery or the spreading of terrorist or extremist content.” May has been banging this particular drum since becoming leader of her party (and the UK) in 2016. Last year she pressed her case to G7 leaders, and was today touting “progress” on international co-operation between governments a...

Scammers are cashing in on Telegram’s upcoming ICO

Desperate for an opportunity to jump aboard in the next big thing, cryptocurrency owners are losing money by investing blindly in fake Telegram ICO websites. Chat app Telegram’s upcoming ICO promises to break records with a target raise of $1.2 billion, which may be extended to $2 billion according to new reports. The public sale component isn’t scheduled to launch until March, as noted by multiple media including TechCrunch, but that hasn’t stopped unscrupulous individuals seizing the opportunity. News of Telegram Open Network (TON), the Telegram ICO project, first broke in the final weeks of December before TechCrunch reported exclusively on the full details. Expectation was palpable. “Telegram is already the de facto communication channel for the global cryptocurrency community, making ...

Equity podcast: Dropbox and Xiaomi want to go public, and how big is Telegram’s ICO?

Hello and welcome back to Equity, TechCrunch’s venture capital-focused podcast where we unpack the numbers behind the headlines. This week was a corker. Our co-host Matthew Lynley is back, Katie and myself were on hand, and our guest, Shruti Gandhi from Array Ventures, was brilliant. And the news gods were kind, as there was quite a lot to get through. First, we looked into the Dropbox IPO. Dropbox has reportedly filed confidentially to go public, meaning that the company’s long dance towards the public markets is nearing its conclusion. But what will it be worth when it does go public? That is the new Silicon Valley parlor game. We looked over some maths regarding its prior valuation, its recent revenue, and a current public-market comp. The result: billions, but not quite 10. Moving alon...

Inside Telegram’s ambitious $1.2B ICO to create the next Ethereum

 We have even more information about messaging app Telegram’s plans for cashing in on its popularity within the crypto community with the massive ICO for its proposed Telegram Open Network (TON) project (that we first reported), after obtaining the whitepaper and investor prospectuses in full. From the documents, it is clear that Telegram isn’t content with sitting on a platform… Read More

Telegram and Instagram being restricted in Iran

Messaging app Telegram and Facebook-owned social sharing platform Instagram appear to be being blocked in Iran. Iran state TV said yesterday that authorities were temporarily blocking the services to “maintain peace”, according to the AP news agency. The country has seen a rising wave of anti-government protests in recent days and ministers have accused social media of fueling dissent. On Saturday Iran’s ICT minister, Mohammad-Javad Azari Jahromi tweeted directly at Telegram founder Pavel Durov — claiming that one of the platform’s channels “is encouraging hateful conduct, use of Molotov cocktails, armed uprisings, and social unrest” and urging Durov to act to “stop such encouragements via Telegram”. @Durov: A Telegram channel is encouraging hateful conduct, use of Molotov cocktails, armed...