Telegram has several key features that make it an appealing option for communications relating to the war.
It facilitates public and private groups of up to 200 000 users (where individuals can send messages and interact), and channels (which allow one-way broadcasting to channel subscribers). Through these groups and channels, organisations can reach hundreds of thousands of people with messages and audio/video live-streaming – all of which is encrypted and stored on the Telegram “cloud”.
However, while both public and private communications on Telegram are encrypted, the default encryption setting is not end-to-end encryption, and instead happens on a client/server basis.
The data is stored (albeit in an encrypted form) in the cloud and distributed across multiple data centres throughout the world. These data centres are controlled by legal entities in various jurisdictions, and subject to the laws of those jurisdictions. This data could be decrypted, although doing so would be difficult.
One feature that differentiates it from WhatsApp is anonymous forwarding. And there are actually more reasons that also differentiate it from WhatsApp and Signal, which make it more ideally suited for situations such as this. Interestingly, there has also been a 48% increase in the number of Russian subscribers on Telegram since 24 February, when Russia’s invasion began.
See Why Telegram became the go-to app for Ukrainians
Telegram has surfaced as one of the most important communication channels in the Ukraine conflict. But what is it about Telegram that has millions flocking to it amid the chaos?