New York – Telegram Messenger, a communication app, has blocked 78 public channels that have been used by the Islamic State (IS) in order to spread propaganda.
The Berlin-based platform claimed it blocked 78 channels available to the public in 12 languages which were used by ISIS. Telegram also stated that they will improve their efforts to simplify the flagging process of messages and doubtful content on all their channels. Some of the channels had more than 10,000 followers, according to Rita Katz, director of Maryland-based SITE Intelligence Group.
Nearly two months ago, Telegram released its new feature of a public broadcast, and it quickly became the preferred method of propaganda proliferation. Via the new feature, the IS broadcasted news and shared videos regarding military victory and sermons.
“We were disturbed to learn that Telegram’s public channels were being used by ISIS to spread their propaganda,” the tech company said a statement via its app.
The extremist group, which has been considered the most technologically advanced because of their recurring use of the Internet and social media, used the platform in order to take responsibility for the Paris attacks on Friday, which claimed 129 victims; and for the bombing of the Russian airplane over Egypt in late October, which killed 224 people.
Because the app was used a safe haven for the terrorist group, a debate has grown exponentially between governments and technology companies in the wake of the Paris attacks. The debate surges because of the dilemma regarding who or what surveillance agencies should have access to encrypted communications. Many companies strive for the private surveillance, stating that otherwise, governments would weaken trust and internet privacy.
The Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) Director James Comey stated at the Cybersecurity Conference in the Federal Reserve Bank in the state of New York, that the organization has tracked the IS’s efforts to recruit followers on social media, including Twitter, and have reviewed the private messages in order to obtain court orders. However, when the Islamic State convinces a sympathizer enough to die for the cause, they switch onto other encrypted platforms.
Source: Wall Street Journal