The odd behavior was first spotted by Telegram users over on Reddit. Links to the app – which are normally automatically made clickable – appear as plain text, and users are unable to copy or forward the messages. The issue only began appearing in version 2.12.327 of the app, a small Play Store Update made available today.
Telegram links still work fine on the iOS version of the app, as do links on the Web UI.
WhatsApp is owned by Facebook, which frequently blocks links to outside sites its algorithms determine to be spam or dangerous. The automated system has sometimes led to unintended blocks – like Imgur – but this is the first instance of WhatsApp blocking a major site.
More likely than not, the change was a mistake on Facebook’s end, but it nevertheless is odd considering recent attention brought to Telegram due to its being used by ISIS followers, and a recent privacy hack on Android. Not to mention that Telegram is one of WhatsApp’s biggest competitors.
We’ve contacted Facebook for comment and will update this post when we hear back.