Paper plane protesters urge Russia to unblock Telegram app

People walk past paper airplanes that were thrown by protesters in front of the building of the Federal Security Service in Lubyanskaya Square in Moscow. (AP)
Updated 30 April 2018

Paper plane protesters urge Russia to unblock Telegram app

  • Telegram has more than 200 million global users
  • Russia began blocking Telegram on April 16 after the app refused to comply with a court order

MOSCOW: Thousands of people marched through Moscow, throwing paper planes and calling for authorities to unblock the popular Telegram instant messaging app on Monday.
Protesters chanted slogans against President Vladimir Putin as they launched the planes — a reference to the app’s logo.
“Putin’s regime has declared war on the Internet, has declared war on free society... so we have to be here in support of Telegram,” one protester told Reuters.
Russia began blocking Telegram on April 16 after the app refused to comply with a court order to grant state security services access to its users’ encrypted messages.
Russia’s FSB Federal Security service has said it needs access to some of those messages for its work, that includes guarding against militant attacks.
In the process of blocking the app, state watchdog Roskomnadzor also cut off access to a slew of other websites.
Telegram’s founder, Russian entrepreneur Pavel Durov, called for “digital resistance” in response to the decision and promised to fund anyone developing proxies and VPNs to dodge the block.
More than 12,000 people joined the march on Monday, said White Counter, a volunteer group that counts people at protests.
“Thousands of young and progressive people are currently protesting in Moscow in defense of Internet freedom,” Telegram’s Durov wrote on his social media page.
“This is unprecedented. I am proud to have been born in the same country as you. Your energy changes the world,” Durov wrote.
Telegram has more than 200 million global users and is ranked as the world’s ninth most popular mobile messaging service.
Iran’s judiciary has also banned the app to protect national security, Iranian state TV reported on Monday.


Research shows ‘mobile-first’ strategy is key to reaching more Saudi consumers

Updated 10 August 2020

Research shows ‘mobile-first’ strategy is key to reaching more Saudi consumers

  • The “demand for TV-quality mobile content is growing faster than ever,” with 87 percent of Saudis watching more videos on their smartphone
  • Saudis spend a daily average of four hours on their mobile phones for entertainment

DUBAI: The majority of Saudis are watching videos on the mobile phones, according to a report commissioned by social media giant Snap Inc.

The study, conducted by independent market research company The National Research Group, examined how the younger generations – Gen Z and Millennials – consume mobile content in their daily lives.

It noted that “demand for TV-quality mobile content is growing faster than ever,” with 87 percent of Saudis watching more videos on their smartphone than a year ago.

The research also showed 96 percent of the surveyed population preferred videos that appear vertically on their screens because they are “more personal” while 94 percent described this format as “more immersive.”

“We have seen a drastic shift in how people choose to communicate and consume media and mobile video has become at the forefront of storytelling,” Hussein Freijeh, Middle East and North Africa Regional Director of Snap Inc., said in release.

Saudis spend a daily average of four hours on their mobile phones for entertainment, the research found, much less in comparison to an hour and 58 minutes spent watching TV.

The younger generations also showed more preference towards short-form videos, saying they fit better into their routines.