Messaging App Telegram Moves to Protect Identity of Hong Kong Protesters

Protesters check their phones

Protesters check their phones as they take part in a protest inside the Yuen Long MTR station, the scene of an attack by suspected triad gang members a month ago, in Yuen Long, New Territories, Hong Kong, China on Aug. 21, 2019. (Tyrone Siu/Reuters)

WASHINGTON—Telegram, a popular encrypted messaging app, will allow users to cloak their telephone numbers to safeguard Hong Kong protesters against monitoring by authorities, according to a person with direct knowledge of the effort.

The update to Telegram, planned for release over the next few days, will allow protesters to prevent mainland Chinese and Hong Kong authorities from discovering their identities in the app’s large group chats.

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