7 Reasons Why You Might Want to Stop Using Telegram

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There are a variety of reasons to use Telegram, from its convenient multi-device sync to its fun stickers and other chat features. And while Telegram has greatly increased its popularity in recent years, there are some downsides to consider, too.

Let’s look at some of the reasons you might want to step away from Telegram. Not all of them will apply to everyone, but it’s good to know the weaknesses in each app you rely on.

1. Telegram Chats Aren’t End-to-End Encrypted by Default

If you’re not too familiar with Telegram, you might assume that all your chats are protected with end-to-end encryption, like they are on WhatsApp and Signal. But this isn’t the case.

Telegram does encrypt your messages as they travel between your device and the Telegram server, but these messages sit on the server so you can access them from multiple devices. A breach of Telegram’s servers could thus result in your messages being exposed.

The service offers end-to-end encryption in its secret chats, but you have to start these manually. If you forget to start one, or someone else begins a non-secret chat with you, it doesn’t enjoy the same privacy protections.

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By default, Telegram collects basic data about the contacts in your phone. The company says it does this to notify you when someone you know signs up for Telegram, and to show their name in the service. When someone you know joins Telegram, you’ll see the name you have saved for the contact, not their Telegram screen name.

While Telegram only stores the first and last name and phone number for your contacts, this is still a bit concerning for an app that’s focused on privacy. Also, getting a notification every time a friend joins the app is a pain, especially if you have most other notifications turned off.

Telegram Joined Notifications

Telegram also uses phone numbers to figure out which of your contacts know the most Telegram users, as it states:

Our automatic algorithms can also use anonymized sets of phone numbers to calculate the average number of potential contacts an unregistered phone number may have on Telegram. When you open the “Invite friends” interface, we display the resulting statistics next to your contacts to give you an idea of who could benefit most from joining Telegram.

3. No Individual Read Receipts in Group Chats

If you use a messaging app for a lot of group chats, Telegram lacks a handy feature that might be a deal-breaker. While Telegram group chats do include read receipts, they don’t keep track of each person who has read your message.

Read more: What Do the Check Marks in WhatsApp and Telegram Mean?

Instead, as soon as one member of the group has opened a message, two checks will appear. There’s no way to be sure who hasn’t seen the message yet, aside from using people’s Last Seen status to infer who hasn’t opened the app in a while. Depending on what you use group chats for, this might cause you to jump to another app.

4. Telegram Has Limited Support

Hopefully, you won’t ever have a problem with Telegram that requires you to contact a support team.

Telegram offers limited support; the two main options are reaching out on Twitter, or going to Settings > Ask a Question in the app. This is staffed by volunteers, so while you may get an answer to your query, there’s no guarantee. If you can’t get an answer there, you’ll have to hope it’s in the FAQ.

Telegram Support Option

Some other messaging apps offer contact forms, giving you a chance to reach real people who work for the app if needed. This isn’t a huge knock against Telegram, but it could be a concern for some.

5. Your Friends Might Not Use It

A lot of the potential reasons to avoid Telegram are related to usability, privacy, and security. But there’s another practical reason that’s easy to overlook: if your friends aren’t on Telegram, there’s not much point in using it.

You might be able to convince a few friends to make an account on Telegram to make a group chat with them, but that only goes so far. Most people won’t want to bother downloading a secondary messaging app just to talk to you when iMessage, SMS, or whatever else they use works fine.

Read more: What Do These Popular Messaging Apps Know About You?

Telegram still has some value if you use it alone; check out the best Telegram channels to join. But any messenger is a lot better when you can talk to most of your friends in one place.

6. Uncertain Monetization Plans

Apps like Telegram have to make money somehow, especially as they scale to serve hundreds of millions of users. Most of the time, apps introduce monetization by showing ads.

One of Telegram’s co-founders, Pavel Durov, posted an update in December 2020 explaining that while Telegram would soon begin to generate revenue, the founders will not sell the company or introduce ads to the core messaging functions of the app.

In a later February 2021 update, he clarified that there will be no ads in chats on Telegram. The company is only considering ads for Telegram channels, which are one-to-many broadcasts that function more like a social network.

These updates also mentioned that Telegram’s free features will always be free, but that new paid features will arrive for business and power users. They’re also working to add subscription and donation options to support channels.

While it sounds like Telegram has its users’ best interests in mind, the open nature of these upcoming changes might give you pause. Waiting to see what happens is the only option for now; we’ll have to trust the claim that the app will not change much for average users.

7. Miscellaneous Telegram Concerns

We’ve looked at some of the major reasons you might want to step away from Telegram above. There are a few other minor considerations to keep in mind, including:

  • While this is up to personal preference, some people complain that Telegram’s interface isn’t visually pleasing. Telegram supports themes, which should take care of any problems here.
  • You can only sign up with a mobile phone number; there’s no option to sign up with just an email address, or something else. This might be a roadblock for you.
  • For inexperienced users, some of Telegram’s default settings, like showing when you were last online, can inadvertently expose more information than you expect.

It’s Up to You Whether to Use Telegram

This isn’t a list of reasons to convince you to immediately stop using Telegram. Rather, it’s a set of considerations you should keep in mind when you choose to use the service. Some of these points might be non-issues for you, or you can correct them with the right settings.

If you choose to leave Telegram, make sure you stick with a secure messaging app.


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