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Durov in an interview with Carlson: on preserving Telegram's neutrality, FBI pressure, Ilon Musk and Mark Zuckerberg

Durov in an interview with Carlson: on preserving Telegram's neutrality, FBI pressure, Ilon Musk and Mark Zuckerberg
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Today, the same interview with Telegram founder Pavel Durov was released, taken by the famous propagandist Tucker Carlson. As expected, it was a continuous stream of Telegram self-promotion and of course Durov's "heroic struggle" alongside Elon Musk for freedom of speech and the secrecy of correspondence. In this note, we will highlight some of the main theses from the interview, as indicated in the title.

The part where Pavel Durov once again tries to refute his connection to Russia can be viewed if desired, and we will just remind that one of the creators and former CEO of the Russian social network VKontakte, which was banned and blocked in Ukraine in 2017, never directly called the Russian Federation an aggressor and terrorist, that unleashed a war with the sole purpose of genocide against Ukrainians and the destruction of Ukraine as a state.

In the hour-long interview, Durov talked about how in 2013 he refused to provide personal data of VKontakte users who were involved in organizing protests in Ukraine at the request of the Russian authorities, and left Russia. The Telegram founder mentioned that he tried to do business in various parts of the world: Berlin, London, Singapore, San Francisco. But bureaucracy hindered him everywhere. Eventually, "seven years ago," he arrived in the UAE, and since then has no regrets. Durov considers adherence to "neutrality" as one of the fundamental principles of foreign policy to be the main advantage of the UAE.

"The UAE is a neutral, small country that wants to live peacefully and in harmony with everyone, without geopolitical alliances with any of the world's superpowers."

In the interview, Pavel Durov mentioned the persecution by the FBI and other US intelligence services, who approached him at the airport and came to his home to find out details about the messenger's operation. He also shared how during his last visit to the USA, local agencies tried to get one of Telegram's developers to disclose the open libraries used in the product and persuade him to add "certain tools" to the code.

The Telegram founder complained that due to the messenger's neutrality, it is constantly under pressure from governments of different countries, but Apple and Google are the ones who exert the most pressure, as they easily can remove Telegram clients from their stores for violating internal rules. According to Durov, Apple and Google use generic rule formulations to interpret and apply them according to their own interests. This is an ancient story.

What else Pavel Durov revealed in the interview:

  • Telegram has 900 million users monthly (he expects growth to 1 billion by the end of 2024), with 2.5 million new users registering on the app daily, all without spending on advertising. Pavel Durov stated that Telegram's audience grows organically, while competitors pour "tens of billions of dollars" into advertising and copy features from six years ago.
  • The creator of Telegram has "several hundred million dollars" in his bank account, holds some of the money in bitcoins. He does not spend funds on real estate, luxury cars, and yachts, but instead makes thoughtful decisions that have value and meaning for the close circle of 900 million Telegram users.
  • Pavel Durov is the sole owner of Telegram and the main PM who makes all management decisions. At least, according to him. There is no HR department in Telegram because Durov deems it unnecessary, and the development team consists of 30 top specialists, a "kind of Navy SEALs squad."
  • Telegram has not raised venture capital to maintain independence, and these principles remain. An IPO is not planned in the near future, but it may happen in the more distant future.
  • Durov believes that VKontakte once surpassed Facebook in many ways, and Mark Zuckerberg seemed to have taken and used an idea that Durov shared with him during a personal meeting.
  • The Telegram founder admires Elon Musk's management style and the fact that he bought Twitter (X), as the businessman constantly experiments and tries to create innovations, while others simply copy ideas. He believes that the world needs more innovators like Elon Musk.

It is worth remembering that yesterday Durov also hinted at another interview with an unknown journalist of liberal views.

Full version of the video interview with Durov, taken by Carlson

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