Pavel Durov, Founder of Telegram, Shares Rare Interview with Tucker Carlson: Describes Threats Received Post-1/6, Stating, ‘They Sought the Data’

Tucker Carlson’s latest interview was with Telegram founder and creator Pavel Durov, where the two discussed a variety of topics from the app’s organic growth over the years to the pressures it has faced from governments.

Much of the conversation revolved around attempts to influence the app from foreign governments, however Durov notably explained how he was contacted by “both sides” following the J6 riots.

Durov, who consistently acknowledged throughout the interview that he is “not too familiar with U.S. politics,” shared that he was initially contacted by someone on the Democratic side after J6 who threatened Telegram would be in violation of the “constitution” if it didn’t provide “data of people who were demonstrating.”

He then added that he was contacted by someone on the Republican side of the aisle who made the same threat, telling him he would be in violation of the constitution—or “some kind” of U.S. law, as Durov is still not entirely sure—if he were to provide that information.

Durov would be in violation however his app responded per the lengthy letters he received, in other words, so Telegram did what it typically does in these kinds of lose-lose situations: nothing.

Carlson interjected with joke, saying he’s found that ignoring some of the most important things in life tends to make them “just go away.” Durov agreed, adding that Telegram typically “ignores” most requests asking to ban certain accounts, share user information and speak about the app’s encryption code because they tend to go against free speech and free market principles.

The two discussed the surveillance on Telegram by American intelligence services earlier in the interview, where Durov said “The FBI and security services pay too much attention to us, no matter where we are in the United States.”

The founder also said the agency tried to recruit one of his engineers during a visit to San Francisco.

“Whenever I go to the United States, FBI agents meet me at the airport and ask me questions. One day I was having breakfast at 9:00 and the FBI showed up at the house I was renting,” Durov said. “They knew that I had left Russia. They knew what we were doing, but they wanted details. I think they wanted to establish connections in order to somehow better control Telegram.”

Durov would later say that the pressure on Telegram is more severe from private corporations like Apple and Google, compared to governments.

“These two platforms can essentially censor everything you can read on your smartphone,” said Durov, who regularly criticizes these “not secure” companies. Him and Carlson also dinged Facebook during their back-and-forth for its “transparency” to intelligence agencies.

Durov stated that Telegram is a neutral platform that can be used by everyone, and called allegations that Telegram is controlled by the Russian authorities the machinations of competitors.

He added that the purchase of Twitter by Elon Musk would have positive impact on the social networking industry during a later part of the interview. “What X is trying to do is in line with what we’re building,” he said.

At one part of the interview, Carlson, who admitted to being a Telegram user and fan, announced the launch of his first ever Telegram channel.

The Vigilant Fox called the move “fantastic,” explaining “While X is great in its current form, it is under attack, and it is wise not to put all your eggs in one basket.”

“I still use Telegram daily. It is an awesome platform, and I am glad to see Tucker showing it some love,” the account added. “Tucker has just launched a new Telegram channel that has quickly amassed over 100K followers.”

This is an excerpt from RTM.