Telegram founder Pavel Durov

Telegram founder Pavel Durov

Foto: Sam Barker

Messenger Founder Pavel Durov The Telegram Billionaire and His Dark Empire

Telegram is one of the world's most popular chat apps – and possibly the most dangerous. There is little regulation of the platform, which is popular with criminals and terrorists. Who is the mastermind behind it?

Illustration: Maren Amini für DER SPIEGEL

SPIEGEL International

Selling drugs: Dealers use colorful emojis to advertise their delivery offers. Some groups have thousands of members

Right-wing extremist channels: The "Terrorgram" scene reaches thousands of subscribers with content that is anti-Semitic, misogynistic and glorifies violence.

The opposition channel "Nexta" in Belarus: "Nexta" counted more than 2 million subscribers during the mass protests in August 2020. The channel was the first to publish images of brutal violence perpetrated by security forces against demonstrators.

Crypto pump channel: In groups like "Binance Super Pumps," members conspire to make concerted purchases of certain cryptocurrencies and drive up their prices.

With additional reporting by Monika Bolliger, Alexander Chernyshev and Roman Höfner