Telegram blocks terror content after ban threats

Elias Hubbard
July 17, 2017

The Russian entrepreneur said Telegram responded to the ICT Ministry to set up a direct channel of communication to allow both sides to work "more efficiently on identifying and blocking terrorist propaganda in the future". ISPs were asked to block access to the Web version of Telegram.

In a note posted to his Telegram followers, Pavel Durov said his firm had now removed all terrorist-related public channels reported by the government.

The Communications and Information Ministry on Friday blocked 11 domain name systems (DNS) owned by the Telegram encrypted messaging application after collecting evidence that the app has been widely used by local terrorists to communicate and spread radical ideologies in Indonesia. Meanwhile, suspected militants apprehended by Indonesian officials have previously told authorities that they had used Telegram to communicate with their group members, and also said they received orders and directions to carry out attacks through the app.

The government's move comes amid increasing concern over the Islamic State's rise in Southeast Asia.

"We are forming a dedicated team of moderators with knowledge of Indonesian culture and language to be able to process reports of terrorist-related content more quickly and accurately". Indonesians are among the world's biggest users of social media.

Durov, however, said he was "unaware" of requests made by the country earlier for it to remove the channels, calling it a "miscommunication". Experts fear the southern Philippines could become a new base for ISIL, including Indonesian and Malaysian militants returning from the Middle East, as an worldwide coalition retakes territory held by the extremist group in Syria and Iraq. The ban on Telegram will not affect other social media platforms, according to the statement.

As a result of the policy, people could not access the web-based Telegram, but still could use the Telegram app installed on mobile phones.

On Saturday, communications minister Rudiantara said that Telegram had not processed the government's requests to take down "radical" content quickly enough.

"Monitoring by the ministry has so far found no criminal elements, recruitment or fund collection for terrorism activities in the application (Telegram)", he said after attending a Hari Raya open house event at Jakel Mall, here today.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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