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Apr 17, 2018

Russia’s Telegram ban is a big, convoluted mess

If you want to know the reason I’m not on WhatsApp with its other 1.5 billion users, the answer is Telegram. To people unfamiliar with it, I like to describe Telegram as simply WhatsApp without any of the icky data sharing with Facebook. It has been my favorite, most reliable messaging client, and its platform-agnostic design means I can access my messages across iPhones, Android devices, and desktop browsers. I’m a big fan of Telegram, which is part of why its present ban in its native Russia troubles me.

Telegram got its start, and its initial funding, under the premise of providing a messaging tool that was shielded from the inquisitive glare of Russian spy agencies. Its effectiveness in pursuing that original goal has been...

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