You may have heard of Telegram, the messenger app that’s beloved of terrorists. The app sells itself as the most secure way of sending messages, which is why those with controversial views have flocked to it in their droves.
So how does it work, and why has it been banned in Russia? Find out all you need to know.
What is Telegram Messenger?
Telegram Messenger is a messaging app that works over the internet, just like WhatsApp or Facebook Messenger. That means you can send messages for free by using a wi-fi connection or your mobile data allowance (providing you have enough data).
According to Telegram, the service has more than 200 million monthly active users. It launched in 2013.
How does it differ from other messaging apps?
Telegram’s main selling point is security. It claims all its activities – including chats, groups and media – are encrypted, meaning even if they are intercepted, they won’t be visible without being deciphered first. However, some security experts have cast doubt on how secure Telegram is.
Which devices can use Telegram?
Telegram can be used on smartphones, tablets, laptops and desktop computers. The Telegram app is available for Android, iOS, Windows Phone, Windows NT, macOS and Linux.
Who uses Telegram?
All sorts of people, but it has gained notoriety as the terrorists’ messaging app of choice. It was reportedly used by ISIS, who recommended it to its supporters and members because of its security features. Telegram responded by blocking public channels operated by ISIS to spread propaganda. But it refused to censor private messages based on “local restrictions on freedom of speech”.
Why was it banned in Russia?
Recently, a Russian court ruled that Telegram should be banned because the service refused to hand over user data. The Russian authorities claim this was to combat terrorism.