Telegram: The new anti-facebok

paper airplane amidst shards of glass as it shatters the surface of a mobile phone as when it flies out of the device

Wired is a journalistic rag and an apology of a “magazine”. They are the quissential spin doctors – spinning out yarns of journalistic garbage that I am too embarrassed to admit sometimes I read it. Nevertheless, I am linking from Archive story here – a long form on Telegram and its pre-formative years; especially its departure from VK roots and its permanent station in UAE.

How Telegram Became the Anti-Facebook | WIRED

Yet while Durov trumpeted global statistics—38 percent of these new users were coming from Asia, he reported, while 27 percent came from Europe, 21 percent from Latin America, and 8 percent from the Middle East—he made no mention of any growth in North America. Not until January 18 did Durov post that his team had been “watching the situation closely” in the US and that Telegram’s moderators had blocked hundreds of public calls for violence. But he downplayed the problem, saying that fewer than 2 percent of Telegram’s users were in the US.

This was another highly abnormal thing about Telegram: Campo never got to look at raw user data. “I can’t see any internal dashboard with all the numbers,” he told me last May. This contrasted starkly with the standard operating procedure at Campo’s previous place of work: WhatsApp.

Telegram’s growth has been astounding. I am biased towards it because it is the most efficient way to communicate. It can help automate routine tasks. I can back up documents, images or other multi-media with limitless storage and channels that allow rapid dissemination. Newer features include private groups with invite links and admin approvals, blocking screenshots and forwarding (that will require uncomfortable workarounds) and private channels. Besides, in the past few iterations, the native applications have been smoothened out and polished. It is impossible to imagine anything else as an alternative.

This one observation is interesting:

Hyman marveled at how the Telegram team worked. He had never seen anything like it, he says. At Morgan Stanley, where Hyman spent 17 years in senior roles, up to 40 times as many people might have worked on a project like this. “And they wouldn’t have done it any better,” he says. Investors swooned. They “enjoyed the centralized nature of the process,” Hyman says. “It was highly efficient—we could move quicker and make decisions more rapidly.” For Hyman, it was an example of Durov’s passion for disrupting the traditional bureaucracies blocking the flow of information and finance.

I don’t dabble in cryptocurrency (called as TON) for Telegram users. I do remember it was an exciting time for those who did- it was the perfect answer for users to allow Telegram to flourish as Facebook replacement, but with built in system for economic exchange. Even though the process was gutted by the SEC (due to some technical issues), Telegram has introduced payment API’s to allow for the creation of custom bots that can be used for shopping.

Here’s what happened:

The SEC claimed that the resale of grams would constitute the distribution of unregistered securities. It also criticized TON for serving as a clandestine fundraising drive. The SEC claimed that the company had spent 90 percent of its $1.7 billion ICO on paying off Telegram’s expenses without ever distinguishing between money spent on the app and on TON. Emails showed that Hyman was also aware that there was already a gray market for reselling grams before the launch, although this was prohibited by the agreement investors had signed.

The current state:

In its battle to overtake the capitalist monopolies of Silicon Valley, Telegram has come to fill a yawning space that has opened up as Big Tech’s moderation standards have tightened. Around the world, there are daily news reports about Telegram channels and groups full of anti-vaxxers, Covid deniers, and far-right provocateurs using the app to spread disinformation and organize protests—especially since Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube started clamping down on such content last year. “In my 20 years of managing discussion platforms,” Durov wrote in 2021, “I noticed that conspiracy theories only strengthen each time their content is removed by moderators.” In June, the German government sued Telegram for failing to abide by rules requiring social media companies to police complaints and have a designated contact person in the country. As Germany has imposed more stringent health protocols to tackle the Omicron variant, activity there has only gotten more extreme.

This is where Wired displays its biases. The whole article is littered with tripe about “right wingers” and “trump advocates” – the author clearly forgets that channels require manual subscription. You can report a channel if you are manually added without permission. By the way, if the channel grows beyond 200 subscribers, you cannot add more manually. You can archive a channel if the noise increases, or leave (delete) it from your chat list. It’s as simple. The author seems to contend that Facebook is clamping down on misinformation. Yet, they must add the usual rhetroic.

A bout of negative PR is expected around a platform when it threatens the status quo. Is Telegram good for healthcare? I, for once, believe it is. Its potential remains untapped by masses. The bot API needs to be modular – easier for non-technical people to build services on the platform. It is shifting to a progressive web application- hence free from the clutches of app stores and allow users to explore freedom. Telegram has spread without advertising. There are endless users who discover how efficient a platform can be. As it has zero algorithms, it becomes easier to interact with others on it. Public groups can allow multiple iterations to manage the course of discussion.

I hope you will explore it. I keep an active presence there!

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