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Popular chat app WhatsApp has secretly pushed out a new update that is discouraging the close to one billion people that are using this app to migrate to competing app Telegram Messenger.

Telegram has seen a recent surge in demand thanks to the fact that it has been touted as one of the most secure platforms around the internet world, something that has clearly started bothering Facebook-owned WhatsApp.

Starting this morning, WhatsApp has blocked any links from the chat app directly to Telegram. With the new update, the messages will still come with the links, however, they will not be visible as hyperlinks like with the previous case. In addition, the previous option of copying and pasting the links is no more. In short, what has only remained of this tool is the ability to send Telegram links manually by entering them directly into the browser.

The new WhatsApp block for Telegram links does not just affect individual messages, it also affects links to user profiles as well as group chats.

Facebook is running things

Following reports that Telegram links on WhatsApp are no longer visible, the former confirmed to the Verge that it was the latter that was at the center of this move. While this might be a very rare occurrence on the Facebook-owned chat app, it is not the first time such a thing is happening as far as Facebook is concerned.

The social networking giant has on more than one occasion utilized this link-blocking tool before ion a bid to prevent users from visiting several sites (torrent sites) via its News Feed section of the main application as well as in Facebook Messenger. On each of these occasions, the company has come across numerous criticisms, but it seems the Zuck wants everything to do with this technology.

When Facebook took over WhatsApp for a fee of $19 billion, it was revealed that the former will do nothing to alter the functionality and services of the latter. However, it seems things are changing as we keep seeing Facebook-inspired features coming onto this mobile messaging app, with the recent one being this link-blocking feature.

On the other hand, Telegram seems to be unconcerned by this move.

“After a media backlash, Facebook will typically step back and blame their smart filtering for the issue in question”, a company spokesperson said. “We expect that the same will also happen this time round”.

No comment has yet to come from both WhatsApp and Facebook.