Is WhatsApp blocking links to rival app Telegram?

  • HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: Dec 02, 2015 14:33 IST
With just 60 million monthly active users to WhatsApp’s 900 million, Telegram is far behind. Why, then, is WhatsApp blocking links to it? (Telegram)

Ever heard of Telegram? It’s a WhatsApp clone, only much more secure. The Berlin-based startup offers two layers of encryption, and claims to be “faster and more secure” than WhatsApp. Now, WhatsApp seems to blocking app links its rival in its Android app.

The issue was first discovered by a startup called, which blogged about it. According to the blog post, the latest version of WhatsApp for Android includes the following line of code:

BAD_HOST = new Pattern[]{Pattern.compile(“(\\W\\\b)telegram(\\.\\w+){1.2}\\z”,2)};

The result? Links to the Telegram app within WhatsApp on Android no longer appear as clickable URLs. Worse, you can’t even copy the URL to paste it anywhere else (we checked).

This is most likely a glitch -- after all, Telegram links work just fine in WhatsApp’s iOS app -- but Telegram founder Pavel Durov doesn’t think so. In an email to technology news website TechCrunch, Duron described the move s “short-sighted”.

Telegram, which launched in 2013, has about 60 million monthly active users -- far behind WhatsApp’s 900 million. But the service has been growing at a rapid clip. According to TechCrunch, the volume of daily messages sent using Telegram went from around 1 billion in February to 12 billion by September. Telegram has also been in spotlight recently members of terrorist group ISIS used it to claim responsibility for drowning a Russian plane on October 31.

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