Telegram has announced the launch of Sponsored Messages on its platform — a tool that will allow anyone to promote their channels and bots. Sponsored Messages will be visible to in public channels on Telegram that have more than a thousand subscribers. It will be limited to 160 characters as well. Currently, the feature is in test mode. Telegram says once they are rolled out and allow it to cover basic infrastructure costs, the app will share ad revenue with the admins of the channels in which Sponsored Messages are displayed.
Telegram founder and CEO Pavel Durov on November 19 announced the launch of Sponsored Messages via a blog post. He confirmed that Sponsored Messages would not appear in your chat list, private chats, or groups. Also, there will be no ads in chats on Telegram. The Sponsored Messages will appear based only on the topic of the public channels they’re shown in, the company has said.
Telegram CEO has stressed that user privacy will not be compromised with this new feature, saying that no user data is mined or analysed to display ads.
“User data will not be used to target ads. As with everything we do, our main priority is protecting the private data of our users. That’s why unlike other apps we will not use your private data to display ads”, said Durov.
Every user viewing a particular channel on Telegram sees the same Sponsored Messages. As mentioned, the Sponsored Messages can be seen on public channels with more than 1,000 members.
The Sponsored Messages functionality is still in the testing phase and not available to everyone. Once it becomes live, and Telegram is able to balance its basic costs of equipment and data centers, the company is planning to share revenue with the admins of the channels where Sponsored Messages are displayed.
Pavel Durov claimed that Telegram is more ad-free than its major rival WhatsApp saying the Meta-owned platform shares user data with advertisers, even though they don’t show ads themselves.