Telegram Closes Down Islamic State Propaganda Channels

The online presence of Islamic State (ISIS) continues to be targeted with the news that Telegram, a mobile messaging service, has blocked a number of its channels following terrorist attacks in Paris last week.

Berlin-based Telegram was created two years ago and is proving to be a popular social network that has 60 million active users and delivers more than ten billion messages a day

The app is popular because it provides an ultra-secure way to quickly upload and share videos, texts and voice messages. It makes use of so called “Channels”, which is a tool that allows users to broadcast their messages to large audiences.

Propaganda Clampdown

Channels have an unlimited number of members, and they can be public with a permanent URL and each post in a channel has its own view counter.

But unfortunately for Telegram it has become a popular way for Islamic State to broadcast its news and share videos of military victories or sermons. For example, Islamic State used Telegram to claim responsibility for the Paris attacks, which left 129 people dead, and the bombing of a Russian airliner over Egypt last month, which killed 224 passengers.

Telegram has responded to the global outrage at these attacks and has reportedly so far deleted 78 broadcast channels affiliated with Islamic State.

“We were disturbed to learn that Telegram’s public channels were being used by Isis to spread their propaganda,” it was quoted as saying by the Guardian newspaper.

“While we do block terrorist (eg Isis-related) bots and channels, we will not block anybody who peacefully expresses alternative opinions,” Telegram reportedly said.

ISIL Hunt

Islamic State is being actively targeted online. Twitter for example is known to have already shut down thousands of accounts tied to Islamic State for violating company rules.

And last week the hacker collective Anonymous promised to “hunt down” Islamic State members and supporters, as part of its Operation Paris (‘OpParis’), following the terrorist attacks in Paris last week.

And this week the hacker group published a “noob guide” that shows how people can join its efforts to take down the online presence of Islamic State (ISIS).

It is little secret that the use of apps (such as WhatsApp which offers end-to-end encryption) is worrying law enforcement around the world, and has led to calls for tech firms to implement weaker encryption standards or even encryption backdoors to allow authorities to decode messages.

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Tom Jowitt

Tom Jowitt is a leading British tech freelancer and long standing contributor to Silicon UK. He is also a bit of a Lord of the Rings nut...

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