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Telegram Is The New Age Torrentz

Torrentz was taken down 4 years back. That was ushering an anti-piracy era until Telegram tiptoed in the void. The app is the latest hub of every kind of illegal material that is digitally available.

Photo: Redpoints

The worldwide effort to put piracy off the internet is falling short once again. Given the speedy advancement of internet technologies across the globe, digital piracy keeps thriving under our nose leaving our digital ethics ruing. Crooked folks can’t be taught a lesson until mushrooming of freebooters is suppressed.

Torrentz, a Finland based metasearch engine founded on July 24th, 2003 went on to become one of the most popular websites in the 2010s. How it gained so much popularity? It contained a bountiful supply of pirated movies, web series, games, apps, etc. Steered by mounting losses owing to illegal content vending, governments along with internet giants took the onus to ban the website. Eventually, Torrentz developer team denounced the death knell on August 5th, 2016.

How was Torrentz roiling the billion-dollar content business? It was bringing countless websites under its umbrella to sell copyrighted content in exchange for traffic on their webpages. Soon, it became a heaven for those unscrupulous binge-watchers who were grudging to pay for the content they were intending to see. Original content offering companies started witnessing the subscriber base to shrink & incur a loss.

The internet can be perceived as a virtual black market as well. Once a dealer eliminated, another one quickly pops up. Telegram is occupying the void throne to reign the piracy kingdom once again & it’s gaining widespread attention due to its simplicity of User Interface (UI), heavy encryption & ease of access. Unlike Torrentz, Telegram harbors an extensive collection of illegit smartphone apps, e-papers from reputed news media, online tutorial classes along with usual copyrighted movies, web series, games.

Telegram was developed by two Russian brothers Nikolai and Pavel Durov, back in August 2013. It is a cloud-based instant messaging service that is available on popular operating systems like Android, iOS, macOS, Windows, Linux. In April 2020, Telegram reported a whopping 400 million monthly active users with at least 1.5 million new users signing up every day.

Downloading content from Telegram channels is far easier and hassle-free compared to Torrentz. How? Users just need to join public or private channels once & instantly they get to access all its past & future uploads. The files are downloaded directly to the storage of the device that’s being used to run the app.

Ample instant-messaging options are out there, like WhatsApp, WeChat, Hike, Slack, IMO but why Telegram is staying in the limelight? Uploadable file volume allowance is giving it an edge over its peers & making the difference. The most popular instant messaging service, Facebook-owned WhatsApp, allows users to upload files up to 16 MB whereas, in Telegram, that size is capped at 1.5 GB, 1000 times greater.

Telegram has bolstered privacy for its users & amassed patronage from journalists, public officials, news media & government agencies. It’s giving its peers a tough competition introducing new features every other year which enabled it to grow its user base exponentially.

But on the downside, unethical users are exploiting the privacy factor to cash in on the distribution chain of illegal materials. Numerous Telegram channels remain flooded with movies & original web series from Netflix, Tubi, Amazon prime. Apart from audiovisual content, channel admins continuously upload e-paper files, music albums, books, magazines, computer games, etc. The app has a feature ‘Global Search’ that enables users to reach all of its channels & groups, alike Google search.

Although the upkeep of these channels remains questionable, channel admins are rarely held responsible by the developers. Despite advocating a ‘Zero tolerance’ policy, the parent company is little concerned to keep those people with vexed intentions at bay. Some admins have admitted, on the condition of anonymity, that their groups are frequently blocked on Facebook but the similar activities on Telegram face little hindrance anyways.

Is there any way to break the distribution chain? Telegram shouldn’t entail a complete ban & should be allowed to indulge in a fair share of business along with its competitors. Some feature tweaking can resolve the issue, which may proliferate if left unattended. Removal of ‘Global Search’ & downsizing of 1.5 GB volume cap are some ostensible way outs.

Telegram channels are fulfilling the burgeoning demand for content in the post-Torrentz era. If not regulated with utmost priority, it’ll soon swell to a full-fledged piracy hub. The app developers should chalk out plans to exterminate those channels & keep a strict vigil on the spread of pirated content honoring their policies. Otherwise, the app may need to face stringent actions in the future if the developers fail to adhere to the internet’s code of conduct.


Telegram Is The New Age Torrentz was originally published in ILLUMINATION on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

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