Telegram – the messaging service that now has over 700 million monthly users – rolled out a paid subscription plan this week

Telegram’s existing functionality will remain free. A Premium plan will offer new features, like voice message transcripts, and increased capabilities for existing ones, like faster file download rates. The subscription costs $4 monthly, with some variation for local prices.

For years since its founding, Telegram has reportedly been funded by Pavel Durov, the service’s founder and former CEO of Russian social network VK. (Durov sold his stake in VK and left Russia under pressure from the country’s authorities).

Last year, Telegram introduced ads in public, one-to-many channels. However, the company seems not to bet on advertising as a key funding model. The platform’s advertising functionality has remained limited, with high entry barriers for advertisers.

“The beauty of Telegram Premium is that if just 2,5-3% of our users sign up for [paid] subscription, Telegram will cover its costs, supported purely by its users,” Durov wrote, which “will herald a new, user-centric era in the history of social media services.”

Twitter is working on a Notes feature, allowing users to post built-in longer texts on the platform. The functionality is now being tested, available to select users in four countries, including the UK.

“Adding long-form writing to Twitter could drastically change the character of the platform, which has long been defined by short-form writing,” The Verge notes. At the same time, Twitter is already used for texts exceeding 280 characters, such as in the forms of threads and pictures containing text.

“From the rise of the screenshot announcement Tweet to the newsletter boom, a new reality became clear: people were writing long elsewhere, and then coming to Twitter to share their work and for the conversation surrounding all those words,” Twitter’s editorial director Rembert Browne wrote. The company is now seeking to provide a more convenient way for writers to use the platform. 

Prominent Ukrainian journalist Maks Levin, who died in March while covering Russia’s war in Ukraine, was executed by Russian soldiers, a new report by Reporters Without Borders (RSF) finds. Levin was likely interrogated and tortured before the murder; his friend Oleksiy Chernyshov was executed alongside Levin.

Levin was killed on March 13th near Kyiv, and his body was found on April 1st when the Kyiv region was liberated. He was awarded the Order for Courage posthumously.

“Levin and Chernyshov were executed in cold blood… [t]he evidence against the Russian forces is overwhelming,” two investigators sent by RSF concluded. “Those responsible for murdering Levin and Chernyshov may have been members of the Russian Guard’s 106th airborne division or a special forces unit,” the report highlights.

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