A Telegram user on Reddit noticed something rather strange. WhatsApp was blocking links that are associated with Telegram Messenger. These includes links to join the rival chatting platform or direct links to the site.
The links appear like normal text instead of appearing as hyperlinks which should allow one to visit the said links if clicked. When you perform a long press gesture, you are not presented with the option to copy or forward the link. This seems like a deliberate move by WhatsApp to filter content from Telegram and since it is owned by Facebook, this is not new. Telegram confirmed to the Verge that the activity started when a “silent update” was pushed to WhatsApp that still bears the current number (2.12.367) as the previous update.
Facebook came under fire recently for blocking links from Tsu, a social network that pays its users for content they post on the site. The company cited that the links from Tsū that were posted on Facebook to lure users to sign up for the site and this action could encourage spammy behaviour.
Why is WhatsApp doing this? Let us rally the numbers. Recently, Telegram announced that 12 billion messages are sent daily on the platform and the number was increasing by a factor of 2 billion per month. This is all done by a monthly user base that is estimated to be around 62 million. In comparison, on January when WhatsApp had 700 million users, they were doing 30 billion messages per day, which means Telegram users are more active than WhatsApp users by numbers alone. Telegram also scores points in terms of security and cool features like Channels, bots, sticker support, proper desktop client, secret chat, 1.5GB maximum support for file transfer and now supergroups. We only have to wait for a statement from Facebook so as to explain this behaviour.