EghtesadOnline: CEO and founder of Telegram, Pavel Durov, took to Twitter on July 29 to say the company is set to regulate activities of modified versions of the application.
Better known as “forks”, the modified versions of the app are popular with Iranians, since unlike Telegram, they have user interfaces in Persian.
Currently, Telegram is available in English, German, Dutch, Spanish, Arabic, Italian, Portuguese and Korean. This is while an estimated 45 million Iranians are also actively using the app.
In software engineering, a “project fork” happens when developers take a copy of the source code from one software package—in this case Telegram’s source code—and start independent development, creating a distinct piece of software in the process, according to Financial Tribune.
So far, numerous Iranian programmers have developed their own versions of Telegram. Some of these forks are Telegram Farsi, Mobogram, Irangram and Telegraph.
In addition to being based on Telegram’s source code, the forks make use of Telegram servers for conducting communications.
In a series of tweets in response to Iranian users, Durov said, “We will clarify the rules for such forks soon. If they ignore them [the rules], we will have to take action to defend the privacy of our users.”
In addition to being in Persian, some of the forks offer a service dubbed “Ghost” that enables users reading messages without the sender knowing that the message has been viewed.
Through the standard Telegram service, when a user views a message, a tick appears next to the text.
In this regard, Durov wrote, “These forks will have to remove features like ‘Ghost ability’ soon, because such features break intended behavior and violate privacy.”
He further slammed one of the most popular forks as “potentially insecure”.
On his Twitter account, Durov wrote, “Mobogram is an outdated and potentially insecure fork of Telegram from Iran. I don’t advise to use it.”
In response to Durov, several Iranian users asked the company CEO to add Persian language to its options. In case the company heads the call, several users will start using the main application instead of its forks.
The Russian developer did not explain why his application still does not support the Persian language even after recent results by online analytics firm SimilarWeb reported that the biggest single group of the users constitutes Iranians at 34%.
Russian users trail in second place with only 14.66% of users.