In September, the instant messaging app Telegram and its partner, the TON Foundation, announced a collaboration with Chinese company Tencent (owner of the popular Chinese social media app WeChat). It will transform Telegram into a “super app ecosystem” similar to WeChat. Telegram boasts 800 million active users, including many from China who use it to circumvent the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP’s) Internet censorship. Industry experts caution that this partnership may pose risks to user privacy and financial information. A commentator stated that Telegram, previously a platform independent of the CCP’s authority, is now controlled by Tencent, indicating that the CCP is working to eliminate the information platform as a threat to its rule.
During Hong Kong’s anti-extradition protest, many protesters used the Telegram app to discuss strategy and communicate information about gatherings.
Source: Radio Free Asia, September 29, 2023