Telegram was founded in 2013 by the Durov brothers, founders of the Russian Facebook competitor VK, with the premise of protecting users from government mass surveillance.
Even though the company has been criticized for heavy moderation of public channels that break its Terms of Service, the company has very strict policies when it comes to private communication. Users are encouraged to use the optional end-to-end encryption, meaning that not even Telegram has access to the messages.
For the unencrypted messages, Telegram says that “no single government or block of like-minded countries can intrude on people’s privacy and freedom of expression” and that it would be forced to give up unencrypted data only if “an issue is grave and universal enough to pass the scrutiny of several different legal systems around the world.” In April 2018, Russia started blocking access to Telegram after the company refused to give the government backdoor access to private communications.
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