Telegram is helpful

Messenger service "Telegram": What's behind the platform?

Since the beginning of the Corona crisis, you - like all of us - have had to deal with conspiracy theories and their most important representatives. In this context, the word "Telegram“- a tool that people love to use to spread the most insane theories. But why?

Millions of people around the world now trust the short message service "Telegram“That advertises with encrypted communication. More than ever since the beginning of the Corona crisis. Meanwhile there are almost half a billion users, who use the service. Including countless conspiracy theorists. Because in the last few months it is mainly questionable ones that have flourished on Telegram Rumors, misinformation and propaganda messagesthat not only relativize the dangers of the corona virus, but also bring out anti-Semitism, xenophobia and worse.

Messenger service Telegram

If you are looking for a messenger alternative to WhatsApp, you will likely come across Telegram during your research. The chat program has gained popularity especially since the beginning of the Corona crisis and currently has almost 500 million users worldwide. About 1.5 million new users should be added every day. The messenger service itself has been around since 2013. The app is banned in many countries, including Russia, the country of origin.

Basically, Telegram is one free messenger app, similar to Facebook Messenger or WhatsApp. You have to register using your own telephone number. Once downloaded, direct messages can be sent to all contacts who have also installed the app on their mobile device or as a program on their PC or tablet. You can send unlimited texts, but also media such as images, videos and other files that no larger than 1.5 gigabytes may be. For comparison: WhatsApp has the maximum file size only 100 megabytes. However, since there is no unlimited storage space on smartphones, all chats can be accessed on all devices via a cloud. If you need something later, you can easily download it in the chat. Telegram can go from iOS and Android devices to be used.

As with pretty much all types of messengers, you can open Create Telegram groupsto use it for a chat between several users. Groups of up to 200.000Members be. With WhatsApp, the maximum number is 256, by the way. In addition to sending files and text messages, you can also use the chats to make phone calls.

Open and secret chats

But what is it that makes Telegram so popular as a messenger alternative, and why are conspiracy theorists, the most prominent among them, interacting? Soul singer Xavier Naioo and Celebrity chef Attila Hildmann, only through this platform? And how can it be that they reach numerous other people with it? Just recently, when conspiracy messiah Naidoo advised demo supporters via Telegram to wrap their cell phones in aluminum foil, so that an alleged location of Cell phones can be prevented via transmission masts.

Telegram itself advertises, among other things, that you can both can open both open and secret chats. The secret ones are End-to-end encrypted and can only be used on the device on which the chat was initiated. However, groups have no way of encrypting their chat and are therefore always open.

Telegram also offers the option of a "Destruction Timers"That can be activated for messages, photos and videos - similar to the film"Mission Impossible". However, the mobile phone does not destroy itself in this case; a message, a photo, a video or a file is automatically deleted. A kind of "Extra dose of secrecy“According to Telegram, there is also a additional pin lock for the app.

In addition, users hide their phone numbers and instead can simply display any username. If you want to remain anonymous in groups, this function is very helpful. In addition, the source code of Telegram is open source. This means that all users can see it and discover anomalies if necessary.

Biggest criticism

But there is another, important reason why Telegram in particular among conspiracy theorists and extremists is so popular. in the Unlike YouTube, Facebook or Twitter Messenger operators only delete content in extremely rare cases. Things that are deleted from YouTube or Twitter due to improper sources end up on Telegram, where there is a large reach and almost unlimited freedom.

Telegram itself writes about this in its FAQ page: "All Telegram and group chats are the private matter of the respective users and we do not accept any requests to process them. “There are, however, a few exceptions: illegal sticker packages or bots, for example. There is a reporting function for posts on the platform. But from when Telegram is obliged to intervene criminally and post due to Incitement, anti-Semitism and misinformation to delete is currently unclear. The company itself is difficult to pin down. She changed her seat several times and thus evaded justice. The company headquarters is currently in Dubai.

Due to some extremist groups, Telegram is now also the focus of investigative authorities. According to reports, the German Federal Criminal Police Office is said to be more than 140 telegram groups observe.

Times of crisis: boom in conspiracy theories

Conspiracy theories boom in times of crisis. The reason: There are countless questions. The Need to find answers, is particularly large. But that's usually not that easy. Especially not with a subject like a highly contagious virus. With conspiracy theorists, however, that is exactly the goal: to find simple answers as quickly as possible and, at best, a culprit.

Telegram is so tempting for such groups because in times when we ask ourselves a lot of questions, it allows simple answers - without questioning and without evidence. That makes the platform so effective and at the same time dangerous and is one reason why it is getting such a large number of visitors now: supposed freedom of expression.

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