Social media restricted speech and cancel culture censorship concept or thought control and … [+]
The idea of “one to many” messaging has been around for much longer than Facebook.
In fact, you could argue that the most rudimentary group messaging services like ICQ pre-date social media companies by a decade or more.
That’s a good thing, in light of some troubling news.
Russia recently decided to ban both Facebook and Twitter, making it impossible for citizens to see public tweets or chat in groups with other users on Facebook, check in on status updates from around the world, and share their own news and updates with those who might happen to follow their feed.
As with all technology, what goes around often comes around. 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.
Apps like WhatsApp, Signal and Telegram offer broadcast, one-to-many features where you can send a message to a group of followers. That could be a literal life-saver for those who are no longer able to tweet or read posts on social media platforms.
One example of this is that a recent speech by Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy was available to watch in Russia on the Telegram app, according to reports. There are also images of bombing locations showing civilian population centers, something you will not find on any of the social media platforms that are currently banned in Russia.
For those who have not used messaging apps like Telegram, they are not exactly cutting edge. Like ICQ, you can set up a channel and then have followers who can see your messages. In the channel, you can also share photos and videos with those followers. If that reminds you of a messaging app from 2010, it really is.
This might sound suspiciously like a social media feed as well, but the main difference is the end-to-end encryption and the fact that you have to join the channel to see 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.
Using Telegram does come with a caveat, however.
One report noted how the encryption is not as secure as Signal and other messaging apps because it would be possible for Telegram to be able to uncover messages and share them with Russian authorities. (The company has always maintained a neutral stance on information sharing, however.)
Another interesting side angle here is that, while it is possible to follow a channel to stay updated on Ukraine news even in Russia, it is also possible to follow channels that are disseminating propaganda about the war.
It can be hard to know what’s actually true.
In order for an app like Telegram to become more viable with the mainstream populace, it will likely need to figure out where it belongs.
Being content agnostic is an admirable goal. The next step is to determine when this open source mentality to messaging can lead to harmful propaganda and misinformation spreading faster and easier than the truth.
For now, it is the only option in Russia.
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