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Switched to Telegram? You need to know this about its encryption

Post Date: Thursday, January 28, 2021


WhatsApp may have paused its plan to change its privacy policy but that delay hasn’t stopped other messaging apps taking advantage of the confusing situation it created. Millions of people have ditched WhatsApp in favour of its rivals – Signal and Telegram being the two major benefactors. Not all messaging apps are equal, though.

According to Pavel Durov, the founder of the Dubai-based Telegram, the app added 25 million new users in a period of just 72 hours at the start of the year. This helped it surge past 500 million registered users for the first time.

“We may be witnessing the largest digital migration in human history,” he wrote in a message to more than 20,000 people on Telegram. Billed as a pro-privacy app, Telegram has helped protesters and pro-democracy activists while also hosting terrorists and sexual abuse content.

It remains to be seen whether people stay away from WhatsApp for good, but there are some fundamental differences between how Telegram and WhatsApp operate – particularly around the levels of protection they place on messages by default.Both WhatsApp and Signal use end-to-end encryption – meaning nobody but the sender and receiver can see message content – on all their chats and calls by default. Telegram doesn’t. It only offers end-to-end encryption in one part of its app, Secret Chats.

Since WhatsApp turned on end-to-end encryption by default for more than a billion people in 2016, there’s been an increase in the use of the technology to protect people’s privacy. End-to-end encryption is becoming the norm on messaging services. Facebook is currently in the process of changing its infrastructure so all chats on Instagram and Facebook Messenger use end-to-end encryption and Zoom made it available on video calls following a privacy backlash in October 2020. If you recently made the switch to Telegram, here’s what you need to know about its encryption.

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