WhatsApp has proven to be one of the most popular forms of communication among younger generations in the past few years.

The company was even bought out by Facebook and persevered with its traditional business model of offering one year’s free service before charging a small subscription after that. Now though it appears that the WhatsApp has been spooked by a rapidly growing rival.

WhatsApp Blocking Telegram Invites In App Battle

WhatsApp confronts a new rival for its mobile messaging crown

The original idea was to hook millions of users with free service, who would then be loathe to desert the app. If friends and family contacts from around the globe use WhatsApp there is only a slim chance that users would switch to a different one.

However the situation changed when the app suffered some serious technical problems a while back, leaving users unable to send messages. In its place a rival messaging service called Telegram sprung up to fill the gap, and it looks to have become something of a worry for WhatsApp.

Since its initial surge in popularity Telegram has continued to gain users thanks to its commitment to protecting the privacy of communications. The app boasts encryption, scrambling the content of messages as it passes through servers watched by the authorities, and promises never to reveal personal data to law enforcement should they come asking for it.

Any mention of Telegram.org blocked

Now it appears that WhatsApp has decided enough is enough, and it has started blocking people from recommending Telegram in messages. Any messages containing telegram.org are being blocked.

Reddit users found that the blocking appears to be intentional, investigating the code in WhatsApp version 2.12.370 to find that telegram.org is referred to as a “bad host.” Anything identified as a bad host is impossible to click or copy in the app.

It is something of a strange move from WhatsApp, with most users likely to download Telegram from the Play Store or Google the app’s home page. WhatsApp will have limited success blocking new users of Telegram and it seems like a rather petty way of addressing a legitimate rival.