The idea of “one to many” messaging has been around for much longer than Facebook.
It is possible to argue that even the most basic group messaging services such as ICQ were created before social media companies – if anything, it could be argued that they pre-date them by ten years or more.
That’s a good thing, in light of some troubling news.
Russia banned Twitter and Facebook recently. It made it impossible to see the public tweets of other people, to chat in groups with them, to check out status updates around the globe, to share updates and news, as well as to communicate with their followers.
Technology is a reciprocal system. While “one to many” messaging has shifted over to social media apps in recent years, mostly due to their massive popularity all over the world, it’s time to go old-school once again.
Signal, Telegram, and WhatsApp all offer one-to many broadcast features that allow you to send messages to groups of people. This could prove to be an invaluable tool for people who can’t tweet or view posts on social media.
According to reports, a speech given by Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zeleskyy can be viewed in Russia via the Telegram app. You will also find images showing bombing sites and civilian population centres, something which you cannot see on the Russian social media platforms.
These messaging apps aren’t cutting-edge for those who don’t use them like Telegram. Like ICQ you can make a channel. Then, your followers can see what messages you send. The channel allows you to share images and videos with other followers. This is a similar messaging app to the one from 2010.
It might look suspiciously similar to a social media channel, however the major differences between the two are end-to-end encryption as well as the fact you must join the channel to access the content. Meanwhile, apps like Twitter are more public — you can view tweets without even having an account on the social network or ever following another user.
Telegram comes with some caveats.
According to one report, the encryption used is less secure than Signal and other messaging applications because Telegram would have access to messages to share with Russian authorities. However, the company always maintains an open stance regarding information sharing.
A side note is that while you can follow certain channels to keep up with Ukraine news in Russia, there are also channels that disseminate propaganda regarding the war.
It can be hard to know what’s actually true.
Telegram will need to find its place in order to be more popular with mainstream users.
It is admirable to be content-agnostic. Next, we need to identify when an open-source mentality towards messaging could lead to misinformation and harmful propaganda spreading quicker than truth.
This is Russia’s best option at this time.