Over the years, Telegram has come across as a popular alternative to Facebook-owned WhatsApp, and the platform is now at the verge of crossing 500 million user mark. The company says that to keep functioning as an independent firm that respects users’ privacy, it will start monetising the platform in 2021. It essentially means that the platform would launch new features that would be accessible by paying a premium. However, the company notes that existing features would continue to remain free for all users and its monetisation plans are aimed at business and power users.
In a post, Telegram co-founder Pavel Durov announced that it would also introduce a user-friendly ad platform that respects privacy to make up for the costs of servers and traffic. Durov’s cautions that Telegram would continue to remain ad-free, and displaying adverts in private one-to-one chats or group chats “is a bad idea." He further explains, “If Telegram starts earning money, the community should also benefit. For example, If we monetise large public one-to-many channels via the Ad Platform, the owners of these channels will receive free traffic in proportion to their size. Or, if Telegram introduces premium stickers with additional expressive features, the artists who make stickers of this new type will also get a part of the profit."
Telegram reiterates that it has no plans for selling the firm as it reaches half a billion user mark. “We are not going to sell the company like the founders of Whatsapp. The world needs Telegram to stay independent as a place where users are respected and high-quality service is ensured," the post read.
In another Telegram-related news, the company earlier this week announced a bunch of updates such as the Voice Chat feature for Telegram groups that allow members to set up a conference call. Although it sounds similar to the existing group voice calling option, it comes with enhanced animations and makes it easier for an individual member to track or join/exit the call. Additionally, Telegram Android can now save files on the phone’s SD card, allowing users to transfer files from one device to another quickly and seamlessly. Android users are also getting new emojis ahead of the Christmas holidays.