Whatsapp blocks links to messaging competitor Telegram

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Multiple users in the r/Telegram and r/Android subreddits say that Telegram URLs are not getting linked in Whatsapp. The issue seems to be triggered after a Whatsapp update.

We tested it and links such as telegram.org or telegram.me still appeared as messages in Whatsapp, but they did not act like usual links and users cannot copy or paste the message. The app also blocks usernames and links to individual messages and chat rooms.

Telegram, a free iOS, Android, Mac/Windows messaging app, is a direct competitor to Whatsapp, a messaging service owned by Facebook. Telegram is known for its “secret chat” feature, which uses end-to-end encryption to securely send messages. It’s a feature that was recently found to have been utilized by ISIS.

The censorship of Telegram links doesn’t span across every device, according to Reddit users, but it may be due to the app not being updated to the most recent version. Reddit users have pointed out that links work in version 2.12.304, but not in 2.12.367. Other links work perfectly fine in Whatsapp, and the issue seems to be only affecting Telegram-related links.

The Verge reports that a Telegram engineer confirmed the issue. Facebook has been known to block links — most recently by blocking any mention of Tsu.co — and treating such mentions as spam. Tsu.co is a competing social media service that lets users make money off their posts from the ads on their pages.

Whatsapp and Facebook did not respond by the time of publication. According to a Telegram spokesperson who talked to The Verge, the company isn’t worried.

“Typically after a media backlash, FB steps back and blames their intelligent filtering for the problem,” the spokesperson said. “We expect the same to happen this time as well.”

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