Telegram’s New Free Premium Feature Sparks Privacy Concerns

Key Takeaways

  • Telegram introduces controversial 'Peer-to-Peer Login' feature for premium membership.
  • Users exchange phone numbers for free Telegram Premium, sparking privacy concerns.
  • Terms and conditions limit OTP messages, but users face potential charges and privacy risks.

The popular messaging platform Telegram has rolled out a controversial new feature that has ignited significant discussion.

Dubbed ‘Peer-to-Peer Login,’ this feature grants users access to a complimentary premium membership in exchange for using their phone numbers to transmit one-time passwords (OTPs) to fellow users.

Initially observed in a Telegram channel and disseminated via AssembleDebug on X, this feature is gradually being introduced to Android users in select regions.

Users who consent to Telegram using their numbers as OTP relays will be rewarded with a Telegram Premium code. However, the service’s terms and conditions impose a monthly cap of 150 OTP messages.

While this offer may appear appealing, it does pose potential drawbacks. Users may encounter charges for local and international SMS usage, and they must fulfill specific criteria to qualify for the complimentary subscription. Consequently, users could end up paying more through their phone bills than the value of the Telegram premium membership.

Privacy emerges as the paramount concern. The feature enables strangers to access users’ numbers, opening avenues for spam and fraudulent activities. Despite Telegram offering the option to conceal phone numbers from unfamiliar contacts, utilizing one’s number as a relay could expose their Telegram account.

The terms of service governing Telegram’s “Peer-to-Peer Login” program absolve Telegram of liability and provide the company with absolute indemnity from any claims arising from peer-to-peer login incidents. While users are cautioned against interacting with individuals who receive OTP codes from their number, enforcement mechanisms are lacking.

Those opting into the peer-to-peer login system must weigh the trade-off of divulging their phone numbers to strangers for potential savings.

Although a complimentary premium membership may be enticing, users should consider privacy risks and financial implications before embracing Telegram’s “Peer-to-Peer Login” program.