Telegram Says Apple Has Sided with Russia, Blocking Its App Updates Worldwide

Gerardo Harmon
June 4, 2018

Russia, in fact, is now believed to have requested that Apple remove Telegram from the App Store, in Russia at least. A message posted on Telegram by the company CEO Pavel Durov suggests that Apple has been "preventing" Telegram iOS app updates since April, reports Engadget.

Russian Federation banned the app when Telegram refused to comply with a court order to allow authorities to decrypt private messages between users.

As a result of this block, Telegram has been unable to fully comply with new GDPR rules for those in Europe, which had a deadline of May 25.

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"Unfortunately, some Telegram features, such as stickers, don't work correctly under iOS 11.4 that was just released - even though we fixed this issue weeks ago", Durov wrote minutes ago in his Telegram channel. Durov claims that Apple has blocked Telegram updates worldwide since it received a legally-binding letter from Russia's communications watchdog ordering a ban. The repeated request comes after Telegram's owners refused to hand over message transcripts to state security. "We are continuing our efforts to resolve the situation", he said.

"Sorry for the inconvenience and thank you for your patience".

For now, Telegram is still in the App Store, albeit with an out-of-date, non-GDPR-compliant version of the app.

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It also requested Apple no longer make the app available for download in Russian Federation. It's not clear what the consequences would be if it failed to do so. On average, these users have more than 100 apps installed on their devices, while they use over 40 each month. The company estimates that an even smaller number of apps (564) generated more than $10 million in annual spending previous year. It has attracted more than 200 million users since its launch by Durov and his brother Nikolai in 2013.

It seems that Russian Federation isn't the only country feeling the effects of that ban, however. Earlier this week, speaking to local newspapers, director of Roskomnadzor (Russia's Federal Service for Supervision of Communications, Information Technology, and Mass Media) said that the country has asked Apple to help Russia block Telegram. Apple, it seems, has been the first to go down, specifically with regards to updating the app in the App Store.

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