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This is where I post thoughts about Telegram in a slightly less formal and more direct way than in the official Telegram blog.
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As some of you might have guessed, apart from jogging bathing and rowing we did some work this week. Lots of @telegram users asked for the possibility to have larger limits for groups and the ability appoint admins in groups. So we were working on it most of this week.

Not me, obviously – I was mainly bathing and rowing (someone has to do the really hard stuff).
Also, the ability for users to add a small bio to their profiles in Telegram seems to be a decent idea. It should be 100% optional, editable in the Settings. Their design could look exactly like the description of channels. It could contain links and mentions of other Telegram users/bots/channels.

With usernames, large groups and channels Telegram gradually becomes a more open environment. Every time you stumble upon new users in that environment you might want to learn more about them. That's where bios could help.
I wonder who lit up all the candles in the cemetery 🎃
Finally some good news for our Iranian users.

A couple of weeks ago Telegram stopped working in Iran, so I assumed we had been blocked there. However, service has since returned to normal, and the Iranian Ministry of Information and Communication declared they were not going to block Telegram.

The interruption of service, they say, was due to the disruption of cables connecting Iran with the rest of the world (Suez Canal, Mandeb Strait + Iran-Turkey cables), and the poor connectivity affected most western services in Iran – not just Telegram. 

Moreover, the government denied that they required any kind of spying tools from Telegram, saying that the demand I received was fake and not authorized by any higher authorities.

I’d like to believe that this is true – it would mean that the Iranian people will continue to be able to use what I maintain is the best messaging service on the market. And since our system administrators confirm that the Iranian government’s report of cable disruption is probable, my earlier claim about Telegram getting blocked may have been inaccurate (or at least premature). 

In that case, sorry for the false alarm, everyone. It’s easy to misinterpret the situation in markets that have a history of internet censorship – you might have heard that Facebook and Twitter have been blocked in Iran for a few years. However, this doesn’t mean that Telegram can't be blocked there in the future.

Iranian authorities made it clear that they would block Telegram if it contained publicly available porn, i.e. porn bots and porn channels. If this is the only matter that poses a concern, there will hardly be any problem, since we already block most porn bots and channels anyway due to App Store restrictions. 

Anyway, the bottom line: we’re good in Iran. For now. And let’s hope for the best 🌟
Here are 50+ great Telegram sticker sets for you. Made by winners of the sticker competition I held earlier this year. ENJOY! 👍

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This October we are working on new features for @telegram from a castle in Umbria, Italy.
Happy Equinox / Nowruz (which this year are just 1 day apart)!

This is one of the days of the year that I think are worth celebrating. Among other things, it has an objective astronomical value – days are now officially longer than nights. On such occasions, I make wishes.

One of the wishes I’m making today is that the quality of the media increases. Unfortunately, almost every time I read an article about technology or messaging, some part of it turns out to be inaccurate or plainly false. For example, last week many news outlets came out with articles saying that WhatsApp and Telegram had a major security flaw. In fact, it was only WhatsApp that had a serious problem, while Telegram had a minor issue that was nowhere near.

Even after we made an official statement (http://telegra.ph/Checkpoint-Confusion-NEWS) very few media corrected their catchy (but false) headlines. This is just one of many instances that witnessed the degradation of the media this year. Every day they sacrifice truth in order to sell more ads.

Let us hope the situation changes, but let us also try to make reporters accountable every time they act unprofessionally and neglect fact checking.
Happy April Fools' Day! 🤡 Check out the trending stickers tab, featuring Mr. Trump, Marilyn Monroe and (more importantly) Lazy Panda 🐼
As you may have heard, we have recently launched encrypted voice calls for Telegram. They are super-easy to use and improve themselves over time using machine learning.

Personally, I rarely make voice calls. When I lived in Russia, I developed the habit of NEVER speaking over the phone, as every conversation was being recorded by corrupt law enforcement agencies. This habit stayed with me even after I left Russia a few years ago. I don't expect agencies in other countries to have more respect for privacy than their Russian counterparts. In my opinion, they're the same everywhere, some are just better at marketing.

My phone habits may change now that I use secure calls via Telegram to communicate with my team and family members. Unfortunately, not everyone in the world will be able to enjoy the same.

In countries like Saudi Arabia, Telegram traffic is throttled in order to discourage usage. In others, like China and Oman, it's blocked completely. In Iran, where Telegram has some 40 million active users, Telegram voice calls have been completely blocked by the country's internet providers and mobile operators following an order from the judiciary (more about this here – http://telegra.ph/Telegram-Calls-in-Iran-NEWS).

Telegram has historically had problems with regulators in some parts of the world because, unlike other services, we consistently defended our users' privacy and have never made any deals with governments. In three and a half years of existence to date, Telegram disclosed exactly zero bytes of users' data to any third-party.

Services like WhatsApp, on the other hand, are not blocked in China, Saudi Arabia, Iran, or other countries with a history of censorship. This is the case because WhatsApp (and its parent company Facebook) are eager to trade user trust for an increased market share. The claim that “WhatsApp and third parties can’t read or listen to your WhatsApp messages and calls” – is completely false. WhatsApp actually can read and listen in to your calls and messages, as they are able to invisibly change the encryption keys for 99.99% of their users (more about this backdoor-disguised-as-a-feature here – http://telegra.ph/whatsapp-backdoor-01-16). So much for "End-to-End Encryption".

Moreover, third parties like Google or Apple have direct access to most of WhatsApp's users' chat history. This is because WhatsApp tricked the majority of users into allowing third party backups. And the sharing doesn't stop with just these third parties. Apple and Google in turn have to deal with data requests from all the countries they have business in, and so the data flows.

By claiming that they are secure, our competitors may be involved in the single largest case of consumer fraud in human history.

By comparison, Telegram relies on end-to-end encryption assisted by a built-in encrypted and distributed cloud for messages and media. The relevant decryption keys are split into parts and are spread across different jurisdictions. This structure makes your cloud data a hundred times more protected and secure than when it is stored by Google, Facebook, or Apple.

No wonder governments and regulators are unhappy with Telegram. Well, let them block us as much as they want. We won't change our principles or betray our users. I know it’s not great to have Telegram (or parts of it) restricted in your country. But sometimes it’s better to stop using a communication service entirely than to keep using it with misplaced trust in its security.

It's why I avoided voice calls for years, in Russia and beyond. It's also why I'm coming back to them now, on Telegram.
Some thoughts on Indonesia

A lot of Telegram's early adopters come from Indonesia, and now we have several million users in that beautiful country. I am personally a big fan of Indonesia – I’ve been there a few times and have many friends there.

So it made me upset to hear that the Indonesian Ministry of Communication and IT suggested they would have to block Telegram in Indonesia. It turns out that the officials of the Ministry recently emailed us a list of public channels with terrorism-related content on Telegram, and our team was unable to quickly process them.

Unfortunately, I was unaware of these requests, which caused this miscommunication with the Ministry. To fix the current situation, we're implementing the following 3-step solution:

1) We have blocked all the terrorist-related public channels that have been previously reported to us by the Ministry of Communication and IT of Indonesia.
2) I emailed back to the Ministry to establish a direct channel of communication, which should allow us to work more efficiently on identifying and blocking terrorist propaganda in the future.
3) We are forming a dedicated team of moderators with knowledge of Indonesian language and culture to be able to process reports of terrorist-related content more quickly and accurately.

Telegram is heavily encrypted and privacy-oriented, but we’re no friends of terrorists – in fact, every month we block thousands of ISIS-related public channels and publish the result of this work in @isiswatch. We’re constantly striving to be more efficient at preventing terrorist propaganda, and are always open to ideas on how to get better at this.

I emailed the Ministry my suggestions above to hear their feedback. I am confident we can efficiently eradicate terrorist propaganda without disrupting the legitimate use of Telegram by millions of Indonesians. I will keep you updated in this channel on how Telegram will develop in Indonesia – and globally.