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Telegram: Women’s nudes are shared without consent

Telegram: A BBC study found that close-up photos of women were shared to harass, humiliate, and ridicule the masses, in a telegram program for the Telegram.


In the moment of separation Sara discovered that her nude photo had been leaked and shared on Telegram, her life changed.

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“They made me feel like a prostitute because [they believed] I had my deepest impressions. It meant I wasn’t as important as a woman,” she said.

Telegram group

Sara, whose real name is not on the list, had shared a photo with one person, but we ended up in a Telegram group with 18,000 followers, many in her hometown of Havana, Cuba. Now she fears that strangers on the street may see her naked. “I did not want to go out, I did not want to communicate with my friends. The truth is that I suffered a lot.”

When tested. After months of research on the Telegram, we found large groups and channels sharing thousands of secretly, stolen or leaked images of women in at least 20 countries. And there is little evidence that the forum is addressing this issue.


“My mother started crying and said to me: ‘There is a video, it was sent to me’,” he said. “I was frustrated, I was completely frustrated.”

Group of 40,000 members

In the photos, the face of Nigar’s ex-husband is now dim but his own is clearly visible.

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He believes his ex-wife secretly photographed him to blame his brother, a prominent critic of the Azerbaijani president.

“They look at you like a disgrace. If you were married who would you care about?” said Nigar.

Nigar says she confronted her ex-husband about the video and denied he did it. We tried to get his comment, but he did not respond.

Nigar is still struggling to move on with his life: “I can not recover. I see doctors twice a week,” he said. “They say there is no progress so far. They ask if I forgot, I say no.”

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Their experiences are quite different.

18 Telegram channels

The BBC monitored 18 Telegram channels and 24 teams in countries ranging from Russia to Brazil, and Kenya to Malaysia. The total number of subscribers is about two million.

We have seen group administrators ask members to send close-up photos of former partners, partners or classmates to default accounts, so that they can be published without revealing the identity of the sender.

Millions moved to Telegram in January 2021 from WhatsApp, which changed its privacy policy.

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Telegram has long been popular with pro-democracy protesters in countries with media coverage. Users can post without sharing their names or phone numbers, and create public or private groups with up to 200,000 members, or channels that can broadcast an unlimited number of people.

Telegram’s reputation for privacy

Despite Telegram’s reputation for privacy, only the “private chat” option provides the final encryption, which ensures that two people who speak can see the message. It is the default setting for secure chat apps like Signal and WhatsApp.

“According to Telegram and its owner, they do not want to analyze users,” said Natalia Krapiva, technical legal adviser to the digital rights group Access Now.

But our research has shown that this method of light touch has led the Telegram to be a place to leak and share intimate images.

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Telegram does not have a dedicated policy of dealing with the unauthorized sharing of intimate images, but its terms of service enable users to “not post illegal pornographic content on Telegram channels for public viewing, bots, etc.”.

Public and private groups

It also has an in-app reporting feature on all public and private groups, as well as channels where users can report pornography.
To test the firmness of the Telegram in compliance with its policies, we have identified and reported 100 images of sexually explicit material using the in-app reporting feature. One month later, 96 remained accessible. We could not find four more, as they were groups we could no longer reach.

Interestingly, while we were investigating these groups. An account from Russia also tried to sell us a folder containing child abuse videos for less than the price of coffee.

We reported it to the Telegram and the Metro Police. But two months later the post and the station were still there. Account deleted only after contacting Telegram media team.

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Despite its soft rating, Telegram takes action against certain content. The forum also collaborated with the EU crime center Europol. In 2019 to eliminate the huge amount of Islamic State content that was circulating on the platform.

“We know that the Telegram can remove and [have] removed terrorist-related content or some form of aggressive political content,” said Dr. Aliaksandr Herasimenka, a researcher at the Oxford Internet Institute.

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