Telegram clamps down on US channels advocating violence

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Prior to the WhatsApp exodus of 2021, Telegram was a fairly well known messaging service. Surging in popularity over the past couple of weeks, however, means that it needs to deal with a far wider gamut of users. This has led to the platform recently removing a few dozen hate groups.

Continuing in this vein, Telegram has had to to clamp down on US channels which advocate for violence, especially with Joe Biden’s Presidential inauguration happening this week.

In fact, founder Pavel Durov recently posted a message on the platform reiterating that it is a service designed for peaceful discourse.

“Telegram welcomes peaceful debate and protest, but our Terms of Service explicitly prohibit distributing calls to violence,” he wrote.

“In the last 7 years, we’ve consistently enforced this rule globally, from Belarus and Iran to Thailand and Hong Kong. Сivil movements all over the world rely on Telegram in order to stand up for human rights without resorting to inflicting harm,” added Durov.

The aforementioned US channels only account for two percent of its global user base, the founder explains, but as we have seen on other messaging and social media platforms, misinformation and violence is often the most viral content.

How proponents of free speech in all its guises will react to such a stance long-term remains to be seen, but it’s clear that Telegram does not wish to become embroiled in any incidents where its messaging service is used to spread messages about violence or indeed used to organise events where violence is expected.

Interestingly though, Durov’s post does not touch on end-to-end encryption, which is available on Telegram and likely the reason why many have turned to the app in recent weeks. How that aspect of the service will be impacted should more hate groups and calls for violence be found on the platform, remains unclear for now.

Robin-Leigh Chetty

Robin-Leigh Chetty

When he's not reviewing the latest smartphones, Robin-Leigh is writing about everything tech-related from IoT and smart cities, to 5G and cloud computing. He's also a keen photographer and dabbles in console games.