It looks like WhatsApp has turned to drastic measures, blocking any link to competitor messaging service Telegram.
On the chat app, any URL with the word "telegram" won't be registered as a hyperlink, but it will still appear as a message. Even the newspaper based in Worcester, Massachusetts, Telegram.com, which is altogether a different URL from Telegram.me, was affected by the censorship. On top of that, users can't copy the URLs to paste them on another app.
According to Telegram, WhatsApp rolled out a silent update that bears the same name of the immediate previous update, which is 2.12.367, and that's when the aggressive blocking ensued. However, not every device was affected by this, as some users are likely to have missed out on the update.
Redditor /u/Shlagger posted a screenshot of the occurrence on /r/Telegram.
Other Reddit users also pointed out that the URLs work fine in the 2.12.304 version.
It seems like a page out of Facebook's playbook, doesn't it? Well, it's because it may as well be so, as the social media company did acquire WhatsApp back in 2014.
Blocking links considered as spam or deemed as harmful is a common activity for Facebook, but this is the first time that WhatsApp blocked a major site.
As of right now, it's unclear whether this move is intentional or just a bug, but at any rate, Telegram isn't particularly concerned of the recent development.
"Typically after a media backlash, FB steps back and blames their intelligent filtering for the problem. We expect the same to happen this time as well," a Telegram spokesperson says.
The Verge tried to get in touch with Facebook and WhatsApp, but the two did not respond to a request for comment about the matter.
The iOS version of WhatsApp still accepts URLs to Telegram normally.