While the two privacy features once fixed may not be a cause for concern, Telegram’s notorious lack of moderation has made it a breeding ground for cybercriminals. Tutorials and information related to phishing attacks and hacking that were only once accessible through the dark web have been found publicly available in Telegram channels, being advertised as educational courses.  

Telegram was also used as a means of communication among terrorist and extremist groups. In 2015, Telegram’s founder Pavel Durov argued that users’ privacy was more important than moderation efforts. The company’s since worked with Europol and other organizations to help remove terrorist propaganda from its platform. 

There also have been reports of Telegram channels impersonating healthcare professionals and selling fake Covid-19 vaccination certificates for several hundred dollars, alongside other medicines, as reported by NBC News. Misinformation being spread by scammers has also been a rise of concern, especially in the anti-vaxxer community. 

In essence, Telegram’s open nature was what helped popularize it, but is also the reason for one to be wary of when using the platform. Though measures are being taken to curb its misuse by extremist groups and scammers, it’s best to be skeptical of any unknown contacts and public channels you find on Telegram.