Telegram cracks down on ‘terrorist’ spam — RT World News

Telegram cracks down on ‘terrorist’ spam — RT World News
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CEO Pavel Durov claims to have banned thousands of users for inciting violence after the Crocus City Hall attack

Telegram has clamped down on users involved in spreading calls for terrorist acts, and will be implementing technological hurdles to limit such activity in the future, the messenger app’s founder Pavel Durov wrote on Thursday.

Russian-speaking Telegram users have been bombarded with anonymous messages this week, in which strangers tried to convince them to commit acts of terrorism, Durov said. The app’s administrators allegedly took steps to deal with this within an hour after receiving first complaints on Sunday.

“As a result, tens of thousands of attempts to send such messages were stopped, and thousands of users participating in this flash mob faced permanent bans of their Telegram accounts,” the Dubai-based entrepreneur said.

Starting next week, Russian, Belarusian and Ukrainian users will be able to limit who is able to send them private messages, Durov added. On top of that, Telegram plans to deploy “AI-related” mechanisms to process complaints faster.

Telegram is no place for spam and incitements to violence.

Telegram has come under increased scrutiny after last Friday’s brutal terrorist attack in the Crocus City concert hall outside of Moscow claimed 143 lives, including three children. The four suspects, described by President Vladimir Putin as “radicalized Islamists” were intercepted while trying to flee for the Ukrainian border.

The suspected perpetrators of the massacre were allegedly approached by organizers through a now-deleted Telegram group, which was operating in the name of the Afghanistan-based splinter organization of Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS), according to law enforcement sources cited by Russian media.

Telegram is the most popular information source among Russia’s youth, and also the number one messaging app in Ukraine. It was created as an instant-messaging platform by Russian entrepreneurs Pavel and Nikolay Durov in 2013. What sets it apart from similar applications is the ability to create public broadcast channels and discussion groups.

Ukraine’s top spy Kirill Budanov claimed on Wednesday that Telegram represents a two-edged sword, which allows Kiev to “spread its message” in Russia, but may have a “destructive effect” inside Ukraine. Officials in Kiev have repeatedly called for its ban, lamenting the fact that Telegram has enabled citizens to bypass government censorship, after Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky used a martial law to consolidate all media under the state’s umbrella.

Meanwhile, the Kremlin urged Durov to “pay more attention” to the misuse of his platform, with spokesman Dmitry Peskov noting on Thursday that “this unique and technologically phenomenal service… is increasingly becoming a tool for terrorists.” However, when asked whether the messenger could face a ban in Russia, he replied that there are no plans to do so.

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