Telegram CEO Blasts Trump’s Plans To Ban TikTok In The U.S. As ‘Killing The Internet’
- Telegram CEO, Pavel Durov, calls out the U.S. government plans to ban TikTok – “it could kill the internet.”
- This follows the ban of Telegram’s $1.7 billion ICO after a long battle with the SEC.
- Could Durov be relinquishing control over the messaging app?
Russian billionaire, Pavel Durov, released his official note on U.S. President Trump’s latest calls to ban Chinese affiliated social media app, TikTok, from the country. The Telegram CEO says the act of banning the social app, with over 800 million users, will set a precedent that may end up killing the internet.
China has been at the forefront of banning non-Chinese apps across the country with WhatsApp and Facebook inaccessible in the authoritarian state. Bullying companies in a bid to get them in line with government policies is a common act in authoritarian states. Still, an extension of similar actions to the U.S., known as the model democratic and free state, could have dire consequences on an open and interconnected world.
Pavel further states,
“For decades, the US has been perceived as the defender of free trade and free speech. But now that China has started to replace them as the main beneficiary of global trade, the US (or at least the Trump administration) seems to have become less enthusiastic about those values.”
The messaging app CEO has been at parallel with the U.S. government since the Securities and Exchange Service Commission (SEC) halted Telegram’s TON blockchain project. This effectively ended any distribution of the $1.7 B GRAMs token ICO, which was a strategic move for the company as it does not sell users’ data or sell ads on the platform.
A Telegram selloff in the offing?
Reports emerging from an unconfirmed source claims Pavel is in the works to sell off the 400 million global user platform following the recent troubles with the SEC. The report states Kremlin-friendly, Mail.ru, a firm that purchased Russia’s biggest social network – Vkontakte – from Durov, is one of the purchasers (a report denied by a Mail.ru spokesperson) and an unnamed Russian billionaire the other.
However, in the letter addressing the U.S. – TikTok issue, Durov hinted Telegram and its local companies will not be sold for the foreseeable future. He wrote,
“We are not selling Telegram – neither in part nor in full. This will always be our position.”