Telegram ads: Disabling ‘Sponsored Messages’ will require a subscription to support development of platform

Telegtam Sponsored Message Promotional Posts Ads Channels
Ads can be completely blocked in Telegram, but it will need a subscription. Pic credit: Yuri Samoilov/Flickr

Telegram, the popular instant messaging platform rivaling WhatsApp, has indicated that it will give users the ability to disable ads and posts with promotional messages. Disabling ‘Sponsored Messages’, however, will need a subscription.

Telegram once openly and consistently promised that it would forever remain free and completely devoid of ads. It appears the internet-based instant messaging platform is now going back on its promise. The platform will serve promotional posts but will hold back if users pay a monthly subscription.

Telegram is promising ads on the platform will protect privacy but ‘Sponsored Messages’ are coming:

Telegram has been expanding rapidly. It has more than 500 million users across the globe.

The platform had indicated late last year that it would need funds to cover its expenses, and the messaging app’s founder Pawel Durow suggested he took the decision to insert ads instead of selling the company to a large tech giant.

The Telegram messaging platform has been free to download and use. Owing to the multiple security, safety, privacy features, the platform managed to amass millions of users in a relatively short period of time.

Back when he had hinted at promotional messages, Durow lamented that the operation costs go up substantially with every additional million users. He even claimed that he was bearing the rising costs out of his own pocket.

To cover the expenses, Telegram recently settled on “Sponsored Messages”. It appears these promotional messages are not “ads” that Internet users typically see on websites and in apps.

Instead, the Sponsored Messages seem to contain information about “Channels” in Telegrams. Simply put, users or companies have the ability to create massive groups in Telegram, and they can promote their Channels to Telegram users.

A subscription to block all ads in Telegram?

Telegram has repeatedly stressed Sponsored Messages will respect user privacy. In other words, the platform has indicated it would not serve “Targeted” advertisements.

The beta testing and the ad content do not seem to be invasive or disturbing. Nonetheless, Telegram’s CEO has indicated that a companion subscription service would allow users to avoid seeing ads.

He posted the following message on the service:

Many users have suggested introducing the ability to disable official advertisements in Telegram channels. Today we are announcing two more changes:

  1. Users will be able to disable official advertisements.

We have already started work on this new feature and look forward to launching it this month. It can be issued in the form of an inexpensive subscription, which will allow any user to directly financially support the development of Telegram and never see official advertisements in the channels.

  1. Channel authors will be able to turn off official advertisements in their channels for all users.

Some channel creators would also like to “turn off” advertisements in their channels for all users. At the moment, we are calculating the economic conditions for this option. Advertisers will soon be able to place an “invisible” ad on any channel that – assuming there is sufficient cost per impression – will result in no ads on that channel.

We will continue to work on features that will allow Telegram to break even. The interests of users and content authors will remain our priority in this process.

Telegram hasn’t finalized any pricing for the subscription to block all ads on the platform. Still, the very idea of serving ads and the ability to block them by paying money completely contradict Telegram’s promise of always being free and never showing ads.

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