Today, the messenger has more than 200 million users – it appeared in opposition to WhatsApp and became popular due to security. And, there is an interesting history of Telegram.
On August 14, 2019, one of the most popular instant messengers in the world turned 6 years old. The owner, ideological inspirer and head of Telegram Pavel Durov recalled this in his official channel in the service.
“Telegram turns 6. Throughout all these years, it has been upholding freedom and privacy. We defended what we believe in against tyranny, kleptocracy and corporations. Now, 6 years after the launch, Telegram has become the third largest messaging application in the world – it is included in the TOP 10 social services. Today let’s celebrate – tomorrow we will return to the creation of new functions, a lot of interesting work remains. ”
Today, Telegram in our country is still under the yoke of blocking government organizations. Nevertheless, they continue to actively use it – this is what prompted us to talk about where he came from. Many are sure that Pavel Durov began to engage in a messenger after the forced sale of VKontakte. But in fact, he worked on it during the leadership of the main social network for Russian-speaking users.
You will learn:
- 1 The history of Telegram: 2011 State Duma elections
- 2 WhatsApp messenger became the prototype for Telegram
- 3 Success history of telegram: Telegram’s success owes to privacy
- 4 Messenger pulled well his open code
- 5 How Telegram is blocked in different countries?
- 6 What happened with Telegram on the territory of Russia
- 7 Summary
The history of Telegram: 2011 State Duma elections
Anton Rosenberg, a former director of special areas of the service, spoke about the origins of the idea of creating Telegram in an interview with GQ in July 2018. He noted that it is closely connected with the elections to the State Duma in the winter of 2011.
They took place in December and caused widespread discontent, public protests, opposition rallies and more. Then, to coordinate all possible actions, we used the VKontakte social network, because we didn’t have any smart messengers even on the horizon. Then the authorities “politely” asked Pavel Durov, who led the service, to cover several groups with protests. He also “politely” refused, for which he received a subpoena and received an investigator with a riot police group.
It was then that he realized that he could not safely contact even his brother Nikolai. According to Rosenberg, this is precisely what became the first reason for starting work on Telegram, which did not begin much later than this conflict itself.
By New Year’s holidays, the dispute has already hushed up. Most likely, an open letter from Pavel Durov to Vladislav Surkov influenced this. In it, he explained that closing the groups would not work. This will only provoke the transition of users to the “enemy” Facebook.
“At your suggestion, we carefully analyzed the scenario of blocking communities whose administration calls for rallies and other opposition actions. Today, almost all such communities have “alternate airfields” on the site of our western competitor, and thanks to Facebook’s PR activity in Russia in recent years, almost the entire youth of our audience has accounts there, although they do not use them regularly yet, ”said Durov.
A few days before the start of work on the messenger, Pavel quarreled with the other VKontakte co-founders. Then he even deleted their pages from the popular social network and tried to sell the id3 and id4 page numbers at an impromptu auction. Most likely, he was very annoyed that he had only 12% of the shares of the service and could not independently make all the necessary decisions. Perhaps he thought about Telegram also because of this.
WhatsApp messenger became the prototype for Telegram
Anton also openly states that Durov never had enough imagination to create his new exclusive project. He always spied on ideas in the west, and VKontakte, redrawn from Facebook, is a prime example.
He took Telegram as the basis of the then-popular WhatsApp messenger, which had one significant drawback – he did not know how to save the history of correspondence on his servers for their further recovery on new devices. The presence of such an opportunity in a new project, it was decided to make the main advantage. By the way, this project was originally called Telegraph – its development began in April 2012 and lasted a little more than one year.
Durov immediately warned the developers that the new messenger should become faster and more convenient than WhatsApp – he even forced them to analyze its traffic in order to understand absolutely all the principles of its work.
In April 2013, Durov’s former partners merged their shares in VKontakte by 48%. They were bought by UCP – Ilya Shcherbovich’s investment fund. Literally at the same time, Pavel, at the wheel, knocked down a traffic police officer and received a criminal case that forced him to sink to the bottom. At the same time, information was broadcast on the air of Dozhda that they were making a new project for communication within the walls of the most popular social network in Russia. Shcherbovich immediately raised a wave of indignation over the rights to this project.
“I definitely don’t do it, didn’t and am not going to make a new social network,” Pavel Durov tried to justify himself in all possible and impossible ways. It was then that he quickly renamed Telegraph to Telegram.
By the spring of 2014, UCP received a portion of Telegram’s assets. They were returned to Durov only after an agreement by the Mail.ru Group holding, which bought VKontakte in its entirety. Then Paul ceased to be part of this social network.
An interesting fact: For his share of VKontakte, Durov received $ 300 million. If you believe the rumors, a couple of years ago he spent more than a million dollars a month on Telegram maintenance, and the messenger still does not make a profit.
Success history of telegram: Telegram’s success owes to privacy
Here is the success history of telegram. In the fall of 2013, they started talking about Telegram in Saudi Arabia and other Gulf countries. Then the famous Arab blogger Khaled published several posts in which he said that a new cool messenger appeared on the App Store.
“Telegram is gaining popularity. I know two government agencies in which employees were asked to register for it, ”said a Saudi developer named Bill Hyder in his Twitter feed.
Telegram’s advertising campaign was built around data security. Durov spread the slogans “Taking back our right to privacy” and tried to instill confidence in users that no one would see their correspondence even with a great desire.
Interestingly, the bet on security has played. In 2014, Telegram deservedly became the most promising startup in Europe, which showed phenomenal growth. And already in 2015, the number of users of the new messenger crossed the mark of 100 million.
An interesting fact: Durov offered 200 thousand dollars for breaking correspondence with his brother on Telegram, and no one could. And in 2015, the Electronic Frontier Foundation rated the security of the messenger as 4 out of 7 in regular chat rooms and 7 out of 7 in secret ones.
In Korea alone, the popular chat service KakaoTalk lost 400 thousand users in a couple of days when the question of privacy of correspondence arose. Rumor has it that Telegram has moved millions of users against this background.
Most likely, a scandal with Edward Snowden, a former CIA officer who in 2013 escaped to the United States from Russia and asked for political asylum, also played a huge role in the success of Telegram. If you remember, then he revealed a lot of sensitive information about government services that monitor citizens. Then the world obviously needed the opportunity to shut itself off from global surveillance, and a new messenger provided it to him.
An interesting fact: privacy turned out to be the main feature of Telegram precisely because of the hype around it in the world. At first, Durov wanted to make three separate services: Telegraph for travel, Pictograph for photos and Telegram for communication. He left only the last.
Messenger pulled well his open code
Telegram was launched when there were obvious competitors on the market who managed to separate it: WhatsApp and Viber. The first was used almost all over the world, and the second had tens of millions of fans in Russia, Iran and other countries. In some regions of the planet, their communication services have also developed: WeChat was already in China, Line reigned in Japan, and correspondence was conducted through Hike in India. To break into these markets was possible only with the help of the notorious confidentiality.
Nevertheless, not only the secrecy of correspondence played its role, but also the openness of the source code. Durov made another bet on a special API for Telegram, with which developers could make their clients for the messenger. The greatest success of this feature Telegram brought him in Brazil. There appeared the ZapZap service, based on the open source code of the messenger – until 2015 it was installed 6 million times only from the App Store.
Until that year, Telegram installed a total of 2 million times on iPhone and Android only in Italy, and in Brazil, against the backdrop of a WhatsApp lock, an incredible 10 million downloaded it only from Google Play.
Do not forget the incredible growth of Telegram in Iran. In this country, there was a massive migration from Viber, in which they found Israeli roots and immediately blocked it. More than 20 million people immediately fled to the Durov messenger.
Interesting fact: When Facebook announced the purchase of WhatsApp, people immediately pushed into the messenger, and it instantly lay down and did not rise for an hour and a half. During this time, 5 million dissatisfied with the stability of the competitor joined Telegram.
How Telegram is blocked in different countries?
Telegram is blocked by many countries. Given below are the countries:
In this country, Telegram was blocked in the summer of 2015. This happened after the lawyers and other human rights activists began to actively use the messenger. According to the country’s leadership, they could use it to coordinate anti-government actions.
In 2015, Telegram was blocked here for one week. This happened when the creators of the service refused to restrict access to immoral content. The messenger was also blocked during anti-government protests in late 2017 and early 2018. At the end of April 2018, by a court decision, the service was completely blocked, citing complaints from numerous users. They seemed to require openness of correspondence in order to protect the country from possible terrorist attacks. At that time, Telegram used approximately 50% of the country.
Due to the closed policy of Telegram, he was also blocked in the territory of this country in November 2017. But this was quickly stopped due to the huge number of protests by local residents.
For the first time, they started talking about Telegram blocking after the beginning of the activity of the opposition movement in the messenger in the spring of 2018. Then the conflict with the authorities was brought to naught. But it started again in the spring and summer of 2019. Now, during the work of the messenger, suspicious malfunctions sometimes occur here. But there is no official block in the country.
Most interesting is the history of Telegram in Russia. It is this country that is considered his homeland, although Durov is trying by all means to hide this fact.
What happened with Telegram on the territory of Russia
The main language for Telegram has been and remains English. Neither before nor now does Durov focus on Russian users in the first place – his priority remains the whole world where the messenger is already enjoying success.
Nevertheless, in Russia it was received very warmly until recently. He was even praised by presidential press secretary Dmitry Peskov. He stated that the Kremlin uses only Telegram to communicate with journalists: it is fast and convenient. Even when the question arose of blocking the service, officials stood up to protect it. One of them is the then Minister of Communications Nikolai Nikiforov, who claimed to be in contact with Durov and trusting the messenger with Russian roots.
Everything went awry already at the beginning of 2017. Then Roskomnadzor asked to add Telegram to the list of information disseminators and threatened to block it. Durov did not officially respond to the request, but wrote on his page that all the necessary information is freely available – he even gave a link to it. Then he noted that he was not against universal registration if it did not entail the technically unrealizable and anti-people “Spring Law”.
After that, the FSB “asked” Durov to open the correspondence data of six intruders who were involved in the explosion in the St. Petersburg metro. Telegram ignored this request, and in the fall, Pavel was fined $ 800 thousand.
In the spring of 2018, Telegram delivered an ultimatum: either provide keys for decrypting messages, or be banned from Roskomnadzor. Durov refused and assured the public that it would not work to block the messenger. As a result, the Tagansky court of Moscow ruled to terminate the service in the country. They began to block the service by all possible methods, but failed to fully do this. Today it continues to work without problems through Proxy and VPN.
“It is obvious that it is not easy to technologically execute the court’s decision, but at the same time, the department is systematically working if there has been a delay due to technological reasons – it’s not worth dramatizing it, it’s not worth ironizing,” Dmitry Peskov.
Here is the concluded history of telegram. By the end of March 2018, more than 200 million users were using Telegram – this number is constantly growing. According to Romir, in Russia messengers are most often preferred between the ages of 18 and 24. It is chosen for cloud storage of messages, which makes it possible to quickly transfer them between devices. It has a lot of interesting thematic communities and functional bots for everything in the world. They use it for work correspondence and do not plan to stop doing it.