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Telegram Sees Major Growth In India, But Is It Really Secure?

Telegram Sees Major Growth In India, But Is It Really Secure?

Telegram saw a 65% increase in user count this year in India

The app has widely been used for marketing and customer engagement

Telegram, however, is also not immune to cyberattacks, say data security officers

Telegram has more than 200 Mn users globally as per the company’s last announcement and is fast gaining a foothold in India. There has been a 65% growth in user count this year in India with monthly active users (on Android) at 2.9 Cr in September.

The increased traction is mainly driven by marketing and customer engagement needs of startups and small and medium-sized enterprises according to a media report. The main reasons for the sudden shift in focus towards Telegram and its growth in India as cited by the report include privacy use-cases as well as the app’s engagement features for publications and content startups.

Thanks to Telegram Channels, startups and small businesses are using the app for marketing and customer engagement. For example, edtech firms are using it to reach test-prep users, while most other startups are using dedicated groups and channels for influencer and social media marketing.

Thanks to the APIs, offered by Telegram, startups can also create bots to engage with customers and analyse other data.

Besides business use-cases, Telegram is reportedly proving handy as a communication platform internally at many startups because it has secret chats that expire after a duration. One also does not need a phone number to access Telegram, and it’s also available on multiple devices.

For startups and businesses that interact with hundreds and thousands of sellers or partners, Telegram offers no restrictions on the number of group members and file sizes.

Is Telegram More Secure Than WhatsApp?

While Telegram has great selling points across the globe, it has also been under the scanner like its competitor WhatsApp. Though after the WhatsApp spyware debacle, users started looking for other options and the popularity of Telegram slightly increased, data security officers have now been saying that neither Telegram nor Signal is immune from cyber attacks.

Telegram says that in addition to end-to-end encryption, secret chats are another way conversations can remain private.

However, cyber experts say none of these platforms are fully secure. In fact, in June 2019, it was reported that a Telegram cyberattack in Brazil hacked accounts of more than 1000 individuals. Four suspects were even arrested for this hacking attack, which even compromised the account of Brazil President Jair Bolsonaro.

In India, Telegram was under scanner for allegedly facilitating the circulation of child abuse videos and communication by terrorists. On November 1, 2019, the high court of Kerala sought the central government’s view on a plea seeking the ban of Telegram post complaints that the app was being used to circulate obscene content of women and children.

Like WhatsApp, questions are also raised about Telegram for its accountability of content and soon a draft may demand traceability from the Russian encrypted messaging app as well.

Author

Shanthi S

Inc42 Staff
Journalist

Shanthi has 13 years of experience in journalism, both print and digital media. She specialises in writing long format feature stories. Trends, interviews and human-interest stories are her forte. You can write to her at [email protected]

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