Telegram appears to be testing the waters for another way to generate revenue. The latest beta version of the iOS app includes reaction emoji and stickers that users will only be able to unlock if they subscribe to Telegram Premium — a service that's not currently available.
Anyone who selects these stickers or emoji in the beta is nudged to join Telegram Premium, Android Police reports. It seems users who receive one of the premium reactions won't see it until they sign up as well. The reactions include the likes of a sobbing duck.
No other details about Telegram Premium have been revealed as yet. Nor has Telegram officially announced the service. Founder Pavel Durov has been clear about the need for the messaging app to make money. In December 2020, he announced Telegram would start serving ads in public channels the following year. He also mentioned plans to add premium features aimed at enterprise and power users.
Telegram has long been adamant that it won't start charging for existing features. It remains to be seen what shape Telegram Premium takes or even if the company will actually release paid features for everyday users.