Clamping down on US channels that advocated violence: Telegram CEO

Hemani Sheth Mumbai | Updated on January 19, 2021

Platform removed hundreds of public calls of violence last week

Messaging app Telegram has removed hundreds of public calls for violence from the platform following the rising political tensions in the US, said Pavel Durov, founder and CEO of Telegram on Monday.

Durov, in a blog posted to his official Telegram Channel, said that the platform has been monitoring the situation closely for the past two weeks.

“While the US represents less than 2 per cent of our user base, we at Telegram have also been watching the situation closely,” said Durov.

The Telegram CEO said that the platform witnessed an increased number of reports regarding US-related public activity in early January. “The team acted decisively by clamping down on US channels that advocated violence,” wrote Durov.

“Thanks to these efforts, last week our moderators blocked and shut down hundreds of public calls for violence that could’ve otherwise reached tens of thousands of subscribers. The team continues to process reports from users in addition to proactively removing content that directly incites violence,” he added.

Also read: “Respect your users”: Telegram founder Pavel Durov slams Facebook

Riots at the Capitol

Dozens of pro-Trump protestors had swarmed the US Capitol on January 6 disrupting a session to certify the results of the US Presidential elections and calling on lawmakers to undo Trump’s loss, as per media reports.

In the aftermath of the attack, tech companies had taken action and removed thousands of conspiratorial accounts and individuals. Telegram’s terms of service do not allow for public calls of violence, said the Telegram CEO.

“Telegram welcomes peaceful debate and protest, but our Terms of Service explicitly prohibit distributing public calls to violence. In the last 7 years, we’ve consistently enforced this rule globally, from Belarus and Iran to Thailand and Hong Kong,” Durov said.

“Telegram welcomes political debate coming from all sides of the political spectrum – but will act swiftly to stop those who incite people to inflict harm on others,” he added.

The platform has recently witnessed a surge in usage following WhatsApp’s controversial privacy update. The app surpassed 500 million monthly active users in the first week of January.

Published on January 19, 2021

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