fbpx

Campaigning for facts

War in Ukraine: Telegram Is the App of Choice for Information & Disinformation!

Telegram

As the war in Ukraine rages, the messaging app Telegram has emerged as the go-to place for unfiltered live war updates for both Ukrainian refugees and increasingly isolated Russians alike

Telegram distinguishes itself from its competitors with the use of what’s known as channels: Public or private feeds of photos and videos that can be set up by one person or an organization. The channels have become popular with on-the-ground journalists, aid workers and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, who broadcasts on a Telegram channel. The channels can be followed by an unlimited number of people. Unlike Facebook, Twitter and other popular social networks, there is no advertising on Telegram and the flow of information is not driven by an algorithm.

Telegram, which does little policing of its content, has also become a hub for Russian propaganda and misinformation. Many pro-Kremlin channels have become popular, alongside accounts of journalists and other independent observers.

On the positive side, there are several million Russians who can lift their head up from propaganda and try to look for other sources. Russians are really disconnected from the reality of what happening to their country. So Telegram has become essential for understanding what’s going on to the Russian-speaking world.

SOME PRIVACY EXPERTS SAY TELEGRAM IS NOT SECURE ENOUGH

Despite Telegram’s origins, its approach to users’ security has privacy advocates worried.

Messages are not fully encrypted by default. That means the company could, in theory, access the content of the messages, or be forced to hand over the data at the request of a government.

There is a significant risk of an insider threat or hacking of Telegram systems that could expose all of these chats to the Russian government.

Individual messages can be fully encrypted. But the user has to turn on that function. It’s not automatic, as it is on Signal and WhatsApp.

The gold standard of encryption, known as end-to-end encryption, where only the sender and person who receives the message are able to see it, is available on Telegram only when the Secret Chat function is enabled. Voice and video calls are also completely encrypted.

But because group chats and the channel features are not end-to-end encrypted, user privacy is potentially under threat.

Telegram says people want to keep their chat history when they get a new phone, and they like having a data backup that will sync their chats across multiple devices. And that is why they let people choose whether they want their messages to be encrypted or not. When not turned on, though, chats are stored on Telegram’s services, which are scattered throughout the world. But it has “disclosed 0 bytes of user data to third parties, including governments,” Telegram states on its website.

Read the full article on NPR


We are working hard to bring you the latest fact-checked information and tools. Donate every time you read disinformation and the money will be used to pay a fact-checking ad!

One-Time
Monthly
Yearly

Make a one-time donation

Make a monthly donation

Make a yearly donation

Choose an amount

5.00 CHF
15.00 CHF
100.00 CHF
5.00 CHF
15.00 CHF
100.00 CHF
5.00 CHF
15.00 CHF
100.00 CHF

Or enter a custom amount

CHF

Your contribution is appreciated.

Your contribution is appreciated.

Your contribution is appreciated.

DonateDonate monthlyDonate yearly

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: