Even as the privacy focused Telegram instant messaging app continues to see a spike in popularity, Pavel Durov who the Founder and CEO of Telegram, has had to again clarify that there are absolutely no plans to introduce ads in chats. This comes following reports that Telegram could be introducing ads for users soon. Durov makes it clear that adverts are not on the agenda for private chats and group chats. However, and wait for the fine print—ads will continue to be a part of what Telegram calls large one-to-many channels, something that’s unique to Telegram and a similar feature doesn’t exist on other instant messaging apps such as WhatsApp and Signal.
Telegram insists that users who use the app for instant messaging with friends and family, will never see any ads as part of their chats. That is true for Telegram groups as well. “Users who rely on Telegram as a messaging app, not a social network, will never see ads. Private chats and group chats are and will always be ad-free,” says Durov. Late last year, Durov had said that all the features in the app that are currently free will remain free, though new features will be added for business users. “All parts of Telegram devoted to messaging will remain ad-free. We think that displaying ads in private 1-to-1 chats or group chats is a bad idea. Communication between people should be free of advertising of any sort,” he had said at the time.
The advertisements that are indeed allowed on the one-to-many channels will be contextual and will not be based on any user data. These will be based on the topic of the channel, and not pick any user’s data for the ads that are served. Telegram is also looking to fix the advertising that’s already there in the larger channels and will offer channel owners a privacy-conscious alternative to third-party ad networks.