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What is Telegram?

Telegram is an online messaging app that works just like popular messaging apps WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger. This means that you can use it to send messages to your friends when connected to Wi-Fi or your mobile data. Telegram is cloud-based and claims that it prioritizes security and speed, making it a good alternative to other popular messaging apps. The service launched in 2013, and since then it has reached 200 million active monthly users.

Distinctive features

Founded by Russian Pavel Durov, who’s also behind Russia’s largest social network VKontakte (VK), Telegram claims to combine the speed of WhatApp with Snapchat’s ephemerality. Like WhatsApp, Telegram has also the ability to show a friend’s status online and attach and share photos, videos, location, contacts and documents.

Telegram’s distinctive feature is security. It claims that all its activities including chats, groups and media shared between participants, is encrypted. This means that they won’t be visible without being deciphered first. The app also lets you set self-destruct timers on messages and media that you share which can range from two seconds to one week through its built-in feature ‘Secret Chat’. It also offers end-to-end encryption, leaving no trace on Telegram’s servers.

There’s also the ability to check the security of your ‘Secret Chats’ using an image that serves as an encryption key. By comparing your encryption key to a friend’s, you can effectively verify that your conversation is secure and less vulnerable to man-in-the-middle attacks.

How to use it

Telegram can be used and installed just like other messaging apps. You can download it from Apple’s App Store or from Google’s Play Store – look for the paper airplane logo. After flipping through the welcome screen, you’ll be prompted to enter your phone number and then add your name and a picture. The next step is to find friends and start a chat.

The app can be used on smartphones, tablets, laptops and desktop computers. Telegram is available for Android, iOS, Windows Phone, Windows NT, macOS and Linux.

About Indianspice Staff Reporter

Report and write stories for It is our ambitious goal to cover issues/events/news concerning South Africa and the diaspora.