I use Telegram every day, and I have so many friends on there. It has a way better experience compared to WeChat. Anyway, it is a good instant messaging application.
This situation changed while Pavel Durov, the founder of Telegram, “died”... Wait, what? Is Durov "dead"?
Absolutely not. However, one of the sponsored messages on Telegram said that Durov is “dead”, and the guy who sponsored this message is calling us to "divide Durov’s inheritance".
Hold on. I know it is ridiculous, and it is just a "sponsored cryptocurrency message", a paid message in order to confuse the audience in channels.
Not Just Sponsored Messages
Without irony, Telegram is still a good app. It has many interesting features that make it hard for me to switch to other IM apps. However, there are so many “confusing things” inside the Telegram app and the team behind the app, and the sponsored message mentioned above is just one of them.
For example, spam bots. Maybe somebody reading this article already knows that the spam from Mainland China is very furious. I am also one of the victims of spam bots.
The meaning of the word “victims” is complicated. It means that not only do I see the spam every day, but I am also recognised as one of the spam bots.
One of the methods used by the Telegram team to judge which accounts are controlled by bots and which accounts are not, is the country code of the phone number. The Telegram team regonised that the new accounts with the country or area code +86 (Mainland China) are "untrusted". The accounts marked as "untrusted" will have some limitations, such as being unable to send direct messages to strangers.
Yeah, my Telegram account was also marked as “untrusted” and I resolved it by changing my phone number associated with my Telegram account to a US number, so it is not a big issue for me. There is another official way to “be trusted by Telegram”, contact Spam Info Bot.
Till now, it has been reasonable and I can understand it: extra verification with high-risk operations and everyone doing this, including WeChat and Discord.
However, the verification method used by Telegram is NOT captcha. They require an "untrusted user" to repeatedly state "I will not send spam messages" and send a message to the team. The message will be “reviewed” by the Telegram team.
The reason I added quotation marks to the word “reviewed”, is that the Telegram team actually will NOT review your message. In my experience, they just press the “pass” button. And I think the spam bots that just write some random text will also pass the “review”.
The result is that the spam bots are still very furious on Telegram. As an admin for multiple group chats, I still have to handle them.
What’s more, the Telegram team has the authority to directly ban normal users. And both I and my friend have experienced that struggle and been told "your account has been banned, because someone reported to us that you are sending spam."
And we just normally chat in group chats!
Telegram Team V.S. Over Billion Users
Just days ago, the Telegram API teams announced that the bot developers should prepare for a larger integer ID, which means that the scale of Telegram users is already astronomical.
However, I don’t think that the Telegram team has already prepared for this, and there are no clues indicating that they are willing to prepare for a product with over a hundred million (even over a billion) users.
In fact, Telegram is a huge community with different types of people, like Facebook, WeChat, or other social networking or instant messaging apps. People within a social network or instant messaging app have diverse interests and values that cannot be governed by a single algorithm, rule, or policy.
However, I don’t agree with “the best management policy is no policy,” which seems to be used by the Telegram team. It will only lead to chaos (just look at how many spams there are in Telegram!).
What’s worse is that the same attitude is adopted in sponsored messages. Durov claimed that they were “fixing ads”, but it appears that the way they maintain a balance between user experience and online advertising revenue is through a higher deposit and cost requirement. And the result is that only speculators in the cryptocurrency market have the ability to afford such high requirements, and there are not as many people interested in cryptocurrency as they expected.
What is Telegram doing? They do NOTHING. They do not even provide the function to channel admins to filter the sponsored messages, and they design sponsored messages very similar to normal messages deliberately, “in order to promote the ad effect.”
I am grateful and pleased that there are so many IM apps that provide secure and convenient communication services, which could not be imagined before the birth of the internet. I also admire Durov because it cost a lot of his fortune to realise the ideal that seems impossible. However, Durov is rapping Telegram users’ attention, with his arbitrary and short-sightedness.
So, Durov, f**k you. And I will tell you that leaving Telegram is a piece of cake, just like the way I left WeChat years ago.
Feature image: @christianw in Unsplash