UPDATE: Com service denies explaining multiple issues by Telegram muting
(Adds more comment in last three paragraphs)
ST. PETERBURG, May 25 (PRIME) -- Most of the issues with Internet resources citizens are complaining about have nothing to do with the blocking of popular messenger Telegram, the communications service’s Director Alexander Zharov said on Friday on the sidelines of the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum.
“When a huge event takes place, all problems in the world are tied to it…We’re studying this matter (multiple complaints) and opened a hotline, which had received 117,000 requests. Only 400 resources, as it was confirmed, were blocked because of Telegram,” Zharov said.
The communications service started muting Telegram in April upon a court decision because of the popular messenger’s reluctance to share encryption keys with the Federal Security Service, the move Telegram says is technologically and morally impossible.
The watchdog started blocking the IP addresses, mainly of Amazon and Google, that Telegram used to skirt the muting, which was followed by a wave of complaints of inaccessibility of many services.
“Citizens of our country use almost 70 messengers both local and foreign, so there is an alternative (to Telegram)…This is why it is not true to say that if Telegram is blocked we’re deprived of something unique,” Zharov said.
People can continue using Telegram via virtual private networks because it is their choice, Zharov said, adding that a loud story attracts much attention.
There is also a motivated audience with popular Telegram channels who earn on their content or just want to oppose to all sorts of blocking.
By different estimates, Telegram had the core audience of 12–15 million people in the country, and now it loses from 15 to 25% of them. “Speaking to some owners of popular Telegram channels, we understand that advertising is declining by about a quarter,” Zharov said.
“Unfortunately, thanks to activities of its programmers, the application is hiding itself behind a ‘human shield’ consisting of transnational companies and right-minded resources with which they share the same IP addresses,” he said.
“We do not block new sub-systems and have no intentions to do so. We block resources target-wisely.”
Telegram’s creators stick to the piracy philosophy, like social network VKontakte used to do once, Zharov said.
“A rapid gain of audience by VKontakte resulted from the fact that it was really a pirate bay. Now the situation is dramatically different, and we see effective efforts of the current management of company Mail.Ru on legalization of all types of content, which is good,” he said, adding that a great deal of illegal and extremist content is distributed today via Telegram.
Thanks to the communications service, degradation of Telegram is at 15–30%.
“The logic behind the actions of our opponents is clear to us and we understand how to behave further. Wait for more news, the process is on,” Zharov said.