Telegram agrees to delete terrorist content in Indonesia following partial block


Messaging app Telegram has agreed to block terrorist-related
content in Indonesia after the government threatened to block
the service over fears it was enabling terrorist communication.

The country’s Ministry of Communication and IT blocked the
web-based version of the messaging service on Friday. It
threatened to do more in frustration that Telegram continued to
be used as a platform to enable terrorists. ISIS has heightened attacks in Indonesia and the
Philippines
this year, and the chat app has long been seen
as a key communication tool.

In response to the partial block, Telegram CEO Pavel Durov said
the company would remove ISIS-related channels flagged by the
government and develop better systems for the future.

That principally means Telegram will create “a dedicated team
of moderators with knowledge of Indonesian language and culture
to be able to process reports of terrorist-related content more
quickly and accurately.” But Durov said also he had
personally opened communication with Indonesian officials to
make the process more efficient.

“It turns out that the officials of the Ministry recently
emailed us a list of public channels with terrorism-related
content on Telegram, and our team was unable to quickly process
them. Unfortunately, I was unaware of these requests,
which caused this miscommunication with the Ministry,” Durov
recounted on his public Telegram channel.

The Telegram CEO started working on the service as early as
2012 with his brother Nikolai following Edward Snowden’s NSA
leaks.
The service passed 100 million active users
last year, of
which “several million” are in Indonesia.

In his latest missive, Durov — who previously founded Russian
Facebook rival VK — added that his company is “no friend
of terrorists,” that’s despite some in the security community insisting
otherwise
. Durov went on to reveal that Telegram
blocks “thousands of ISIS-related channels per month.”

In the aftermath of the Paris attacks in 2015, for one,
it purged a range of terrorist
content.
 That was particularly controversial
because Durov seemed to admit months earlier
that Telegram was aware that some of its users were from ISIS.

“Privacy, ultimately, is more important than our fear of bad
things happening, like terrorism,” Durov said on stage at
TechCrunch Disrupt San Francisco in September 2015, although he
did go on to explain that ISIS would simply use another app if
it wasn’t Telegram.

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