Telegram app 'full of terrorist propaganda' blocked

Remigio Civitarese
Luglio 17, 2017

The day after the app was officially banned, Indonesia's IT Minister Rudiantara aptly appeared at an anti-radicalism event at Universitas Padjajaran in Bandung, where he spoke of the possibility of all social media services meeting the same fate as Telegram in Indonesia should they fail to heed the government's request to filter out radical content.

Indonesians are among of the world's biggest users of social media.

In his announcement, he explained that officials at the Ministry of Communication and IT in Indonesia had emailed Telegram a list of public channels with terrorism-related content in Telegram but the list wasn't processed quickly enough.

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. Police said the man had no links to militant groups but had been radicalised through material he read on Telegram.

Durov said Telegram blocks thousands of ISIL-related channels a month and is "always open to ideas on how to get better at this".

"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", he said.

Russia's FSB security agency also said Telegram was used by those behind April's Saint Petersburg metro bombing.

As of July 14, Telegram has banned 3,169 Islamic State-related bots and channels in the first two weeks of this month alone.

The ministry's director for information application, Sameul Pangerapan, told the Jakarta Globe on Friday there had been "data collecting and correspondence" with Telegram prior to blocking access to it.

However, as outlined in its code of conduct, the ICT Ministry can not request a ban or block on any web portal, but instead only processes requests from other government institutions. Durov claims that he was unaware of the requests and only realised something was wrong when he heard the country would block the app.

"This has to be done because there are many channels on this service that are full of radical and terrorist propaganda, hatred, ways to make bombs, how to carry out attacks, disturbing images, which are all in conflict with Indonesian law", the communications ministry said in a statement on its website. It is believed the app has been used to coordinate several terrorist attacks, including in Indonesia, in the last few years.

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