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Thoughts from the CEO / Founder / Product Manager of Telegram.
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πŸŽ‚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 πŸ”
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?
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 β€œrecommendation algorithms” flood it on a daily basis. If we are to reclaim our creative freedom, we must first take back control of our minds.
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.
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:

https://telegra.ph/Why-Telegram-had-to-follow-Apple-and-Google-when-they-suspended-a-voting-app-09-25
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.
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.
πŸŽ‚ As I am turning 37, I put together a list of 3 undervalued and 7 overvalued things in life.

3️⃣ Undervalued

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.

7️⃣ Overvalued

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.
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 [1] [2] – 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.
πŸ₯‡Telegram is the fastest growing mobile app in 2021, leading this year’s Top Breakout Chart by Appannie.

This means that the number of active users on Telegram increased faster than on any other mobile app in the world.

2021 will be remembered as the year when people grew tired of being disrespected by greedy corporations and chose the privacy and consistency of Telegram.

And yet, there's so much more that we have in store for you. Thank you for joining Telegram early and taking this incredible journey with us πŸŽ‰
Happy Winter Solstice (or "Yule" or "Yalda") – the father of all winter holidays! πŸŒŸβœ¨πŸ’«β„οΈ

Make sure to check out the new featured stickers in the trending section – 20 new packs and other goodies there πŸŽ…πŸ»πŸ―πŸŽ
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 πŸ’ͺ
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.
πŸ₯³βœ¨ 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 πŸ‘Œ

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 πŸ’«

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 πŸ”₯

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! πŸŽ„
Messages on WhatsApp were left open to potential attackers for years, as detailed in recent leaks about Boldend – a US cyber-warfare startup (more here).

Since the creation of WhatsApp, there's hardly been a moment in which it was secure: every few months researchers uncover a new security issue in the app. I wrote about this in detail 2 years ago (read here if you missed it). Nothing has changed since then.

It would be hard to believe that the technical team of WhatsApp is so consistently incompetent. Telegram, a far more sophisticated app, has never had security issues of such severity.
If you follow my posts, you know that on my Mom's side, I trace my family line from Kyiv. Her maiden name is Ukrainian (Ivanenko), and to this day we have many relatives living in Ukraine. That's why this tragic conflict is personal both to me and Telegram.

Some people wondered if Telegram is somehow less secure for Ukrainians, because I once lived in Russia. Let me tell these people how my career in Russia ended.

Nine years ago I was the CEO of VK, which was the largest social network in Russia and Ukraine. In 2013, the Russian security agency, FSB, demanded that I provide them the private data of the Ukrainian users of VK who were protesting against a pro-Russian President.

I refused to comply with these demands, because it would have meant a betrayal of our Ukrainian users. After that, I was fired from the company I founded and was forced to leave Russia.

I lost my company and my home, but would do it again – without hesitation. I smile with pride when I read my VK post from April 2014, which shows the scanned orders from the FSB and my trademark response to them – a dog in a hoodie.

When I defied their demands, the stakes were high for me personally. I was still living in Russia, and my team and my old company were also based in that country.

Many years have passed since then. Many things changed: I no longer live in Russia, no longer have any companies or employees there. But one thing remains the same – I stand for our users no matter what. Their right to privacy is sacred. Now – more than ever.
It seems that we had an issue with emails going between our telegram.org corporate addresses and the Brazilian Supreme Court. As a result of this miscommunication, the Court ruled to ban Telegram for being unresponsive.

On behalf of our team, I apologize to the Brazilian Supreme Court for our negligence. We definitely could have done a better job.

We complied with an earlier court decision in late February and responded with a suggestion to send future takedown requests to a dedicated email address. Unfortunately, our response must have been lost, because the Court used the old general-purpose email address in further attempts to reach us. As a result, we missed its decision in early March that contained a follow-up takedown request. Luckily, we have now found and processed it, delivering another report to the Court today.

Because tens of millions of Brazilians rely on Telegram to communicate with family, friends and colleagues, I ask the Court to consider delaying its ruling for a few days at its discretion to allow us to remedy the situation by appointing a representative in Brazil and setting up a framework to react to future pressing issues like this in an expedited manner.

The last 3 weeks have been unprecedented for the world and for Telegram. Our content moderation team was flooded with requests from multiple parties. However, I am certain that once a reliable channel of communication is established, we'll be able to efficiently process takedown requests for public channels that are illegal in Brazil.
Telegram shipped another historic update this past weekend. In addition to features that redefine the boundaries of what a messaging app can do (never before have bots been so powerful or notification options so flexible), we introduced half a dozen other improvements. Among them is support for more languages in message translations (to turn on the Translate button, head to Settings > Languages).

We recognize that Telegram has become the main source of information from Ukraine, and we hope that the tools we provide can help inform more people and save more lives. To ease the work of journalists around the world, all public channel posts in Ukrainian now always offer the translate button by default.
In 2022, Telegram is again among the top 5 most downloaded apps in the world (just like in 2021). Of these top 5 most popular apps, Telegram is the only one that doesn't spend billions on marketing to buy downloads. In a way, we are the only app that is on the list purely because it is genuinely loved by the people❀️‍πŸ”₯
The world is on the brink of a global food crisis. Hundreds of millions of people are facing starvation.

To help those in need, last month the UAE ran the successful 1 Billion Meals initiative – a fundraising campaign aimed at providing a billion meals for the most vulnerable people in 50 countries.

Hundreds of donors participated. The founder of the campaign, Sheikh Mohammed, donated 400 million meals, and I contributed a modest 12 million. Hopefully, many more people can join the initiative in the following years and we can collectively achieve the Zero Hunger goal set by the UN.