Telegram is a nightmare for your privacy if not taken care of – Use Signal instead

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Telegram People Nearby

It’s no secret that Telegram and Signal messaging platforms have received so much attention after the issues raised about WhatsApp privacy policy. People have already started kicking out Facebook’s messaging platform to join the two alternatives. In fact, Telegram has officially announced about surpassing 500 million active users.

Concerning your privacy as a precious thing for you, the Signal should be the way to go as an alternate. It’s an open-source messaging platform and most importantly has the same encryption model as WhatsApp runs on. If you didn’t know it’s the “Singal Encryption Protocol” that WhatsApp and a few other major industry players have adopted. This encryption model is actually the baby of the Signal foundation that owns the Singal app itself. So you should really feel safe with the Signal app.

Signal, however, is less feature-rich, than the Telegram with regard to user interface and experience. That’s the reason Telegram has attracted more users since the privacy issues and recent data breaches hit WhatsApp. It’s true that Telegram is really a feature-rich instant messaging platform. But if not taken care of, it can expose you like you never wanted.

Telegram has a special feature called People Nearby (for people wandering online or looking for dates, maybe; I’m not judging.) It’s a completely separate interface within the app that requires your permission to use your phone’s location services. Because this section has a simple message that states to “quickly add people nearby who are viewing this section and discover local groups.” with a button to “Allow Access,” most people would like to go ahead with it.

Once you are in, you are exposed to other people who are viewing this screen on the Telegram app. Though this section has an option to “Make Myself Visible,” it can confuse you to think as you were invisible unless you turn it on. That’s not the case. You are instantly visible to people nearby viewing this section as the feature exactly states.

The option “Make Myself Visible”, if turned on, makes you visible even if you are not viewing this screen. This feature, however, does not reveal your phone number to anyone, it allows people to interact with you without any permission. You can block them but initial messages will appear without your consent.

Telegram People Nearby

So that’s where the problem occurs when messages start appearing from unknown people. But hold on, it’s not all about incoming messages. There is a hell lot of groups that you can watch other messaging with each other and can join if you want. What’s in those groups? you just can’t control. Just take the following experience as an example.

You won’t find this feature very useful unless you like public chat groups. Especially when you know the people you are talking to are really nearby. I recommend you keep this feature turned off for better private use of this app. You can also remove location permission for this app from settings. Still, you can’t control your kids as they always can turn it on.

Now you know that I am recommending you use Signal instead of Telegram. I’d also like to tell Telegram; if they want to enjoy the incoming user base from WhatsApp, it must remove this feature once and for all.

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