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

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 that spread calls for committing acts of terrorism, and will be implementing technological hurdles to limit this 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 attempt to persuade them to commit acts of terrorism, Durov said. The app’s administrators reportedly took steps to deal with this within an hour of receiving the 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 private messages to them, Durov added. Telegram also plans to deploy ‘AI-related’ mechanisms to process complaints faster.

Telegram is no place for spam and incitements to violence.

The messenger app has come under increased scrutiny after last Friday’s terrorist attack at the Crocus City Hall outside of Moscow claimed 143 lives, including three children. Four suspects, who were described by President Vladimir Putin as “radicalized Islamists,” were intercepted while fleeing towards the Ukrainian border.

Kremlin urges Telegram to work harder to prevent terrorism

The suspected perpetrators of the massacre were allegedly approached by the 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 young people in Russia, 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.

Ukrainian military intelligence chief Kirill Budanov said on Wednesday that Telegram is a double-edged sword, as it allows Kiev to “spread its message” in Russia, but may have a “destructive effect” inside Ukraine. Officials in Kiev have called for it to be banned, lamenting the fact that Telegram has enabled people to bypass government censorship after President Vladimir Zelensky used martial law to place all media under the state’s umbrella.

Telegram a national security issue – Ukraine’s top spy

In Russia, the Kremlin has urged Durov to “pay more attention” to the misuse of the platform, with spokesman Dmitry Peskov noting on Thursday that “this unique and technologically phenomenal service… is increasingly becoming a tool for terrorists.” Asked whether Telegram could be banned, however, he said there are no plans to do so.

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