The messenger app Telegram will start charging some heavy users and channel owners with large followings next year, the company’s founder Pavel Durov said in a message to followers. Durov didn’t elaborate on how much heavy users would be charged, or what threshold would be applicable to afford them entry, but it is likely that people making frequent use of the platform to share large files (a feature other free messaging apps don’t offer too readily) will likely have to pay some sort of recurring fee.
“For most of Telegram’s history, I paid for the expenses of the company from my personal savings. However, with its current growth Telegram is on track to reach billions of users and to require appropriate funding. When a tech project reaches this scale, typically there are two options – start earning money to cover the costs, or sell the company,” Durov said in his message. Calling out WhatsApp’s sale to Facebook, Durov explicitly ruled that kind of possibility out for Telegram.
“In many markets the owners of such channels display ads to earn money, sometimes using third-party ad platforms. The ads they post look like regular messages, and are often intrusive. We will fix this by introducing our own Ad Platform for public one-to-many channels – one that is user-friendly, respects privacy and allows us to cover the costs of servers and traffic,” he added.
Telegram may soon have 500 million users, as it is growing rapidly.