As Russian troops surround Kyiv, millions of Ukrainians have relied on Telegram to receive government information. Why Telegram? There was an official Ukrainian COVID information Telegram channel @COVID19_Ukraine, and when war broke out, its members voted to have the channel refocus on real-time war news. The channel is now called @UkraineNOW.
While this is interesting, it is very important to understand that this “official” news channel is not a model for private citizens to follow. Unlike WhatsApp and Signal, Telegram is not end-to-end encrypted. (Telegram does offer end-to-end encryption with its “secret chats” feature.) This exposes private users (people organizing their movements, for example) to significant security risks as unencrypted communications are relatively easy to monitor and insecure channels are susceptible to the injection of unauthorized content.
Every social media platform has been weaponized, but in a war zone, fake news can literally kill.
Author’s note: This is not a sponsored post. I am the author of this article and it expresses my own opinions. I am not, nor is my company, receiving compensation for it.