A legal campaign is being launched by the “Coalition for a Safer Web,” an NGO that has sued Apple in a bid to get the giant to remove the Telegram messaging app from its store.
We obtained a copy of the lawsuit for you here.
Such a move would solidify the recently emerging practice of censorship at a lower infrastructural level, including by revoking hosting and removal of entire apps from app stores, instead of banning or muting individual users and accounts.
According to the group, Telegram should be banned from the App Store because its users post hateful content, which puts people in danger as an iPhone owner, and also causes emotional distress.
The case, filed in US District Court for Northern California, accuses Apple of not enforcing its terms of services, and Telegram of being a “superspreader” of “hate speech” and incitement to violence – incomparable “even to Parler.”
If the lawsuit targeted Telegram itself, it would likely fail as Telegram is not liable for third-party content. However, emboldened by Apple and Google recently banning Parler from their online stores precisely for the user-generated content there, the Coalition for a Safer Web seemingly wants to apply pressure for this to become standard practice whenever an app is viewed unfavorably.
And, according to the group’s lawyer, they will also sue Google with the same demand – remove Telegram from Play Store.
Telegram, an encrypted messaging app, along with several other apps and services of its kind, has recently seen a huge surge in adoption, in part due to Facebook’s recent controversial decision to change its privacy settings and wholesale harvest user data from Telegram’s competitor WhatsApp, that the giant owns.
Stanford Law School’s Daphne Keller said the lawsuit is unlikely to succeed since Apples’ terms of service allow it to invoke Section 230, and argue in favor of its right to free speech.