Is WhatsApp Blocking the Links Containing Telegram in Domain Name?

29 December 2015

Dublin: What people expect from the genuine companies is to retain the users by providing the best service they can and not by locking them actively and making it hard for them to switch to the competitor. For instance, Google allows the users to download their contacts, photos, bookmarks emails and other data via Google Takeout. Any user from there is free to close their account and move to a competing service with no questions asked. Certainly there are a few companies that don’t behave this way even if their company is the biggest player in the market. WhatsApp stands as an example for it.

WhatsApp, being the heavyweight champion among the instant messaging service providers having almost one billion users, appears to be doing that. In the Android version of WhatsApp, links with the domain name ‘telegram’ don’t generate a hyperlink or a URL snippet just like the other links do.

This makes it harder for WhatsApp users to follow the link to Telegram app or Telegram group chat. Initially it was thought that it may be because the app was not able to identify a few top level domains (TLD) like ‘.me’; but the URLs like about.me are correctly hyperlinked.

No hyperlink for telegram.com too!

  • Yes, even though telegram.com is nowhere related to the Telegram Messenger, link for the site telegram.com has also been blocked by WhatsApp. To make it even more difficult for Telegram users, WhatsApp has gone to such an extent that, any message which contains a URL with ‘telegram’ domain name cannot be copied or forwarded; the users will have to type it manually. However it’s difficult to find any such URLs which do not get hyperlinked automatically.
     
  • It’s also difficult to argue that this unusual behavior might be because of some random bug because if that was the case, it would have affected the other links too. But if it’s intentional, this is definitely not a kind of anti-competitive measure that people expect from a company that prides itself for providing service to the people all over the world.

Many sources have confirmed and reported that this is not happening by any random glitch but because of a code which has been added to WhatsApp to block the links containing telegram domain names. Here, the smoking gun is a pattern match performed on URL string that begins with telegram. It’s been noted that these strings are classified as ‘bad host’ in the recent version of the app so that no hyperlink will be generated and also it becomes impossible to forward or copy any message with that URL.

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