Europol: Telegram is doing a better job at tackling Islamic State terrorists than Google and Instagram

Telegram received praise from the agency.


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Depending on what your business on the web may be, you might be using the messaging and VoIP app Telegram for any range of reasons: the promise of privacy, access to cryptocurrencies trading groups – or maybe for a vast variety of funny stickers.

And the business of Telegram itself is rather complex. It was founded in 2013 by Nikolai and Pavel Durov – a pair of Russian brothers responsible, among other ventures, for giving the world Russia's Facebook clone VK. Pavel Durov has since been in voluntary exile, and a lot of effort has been made to disassociate Telegram from its Russian roots.

Russia is no more sentimental about the app and the company behind it, though: the country's vastly powerful Federal Security Service (FSB) has asked for encryption keys from Telegram, apparently to facilitate its fight against terrorism. When FSB didn't get what it wanted, the app was blocked. And Russia's fight against terrorism spreads far beyond its borders: all the way to the Middle East, and a war to bring Islamic State to heel.

In the past, Telegram has been accused of allowing Islamic State terrorists to communicate freely. In the past, Durov said that he thought “privacy is more important than our fear of bad things happening, like terrorism.”

That was in 2015 – and now we have an update.

In a post on Telegram Durov said that the app has been engaged in “fighting the spread of terrorist content” while also not compromising on the promise of privacy.

It might be a good while before his native country embraces Telegram's effort as anything satisfactory – but it seems that EU's law enforcement organization Europol is quite happy with it.

“Telegram is no place for violence, criminal activity and abusers. The company has put forth considerable effort to root out the abusers of the platform by both bolstering its technical capacity in countering malicious content and establishing,” Durov shared a press release from Europol, which also said the company now has “a close partnership with Europol.”

Prior to this, Europol heaped more praise on the app during the Referral Action Day, when it was found to have done better than Google and Instagram.

“As a result, a significant portion of key actors within the IS network on Telegram was pushed away from the platform,” Europol is quoted as saying.

Durov is now keen to point out that with Telegram, you can have it all. Europol's pronouncements mean that Islamic State “and their likes” will find it difficult to spread their messages on Telegram, Durov said – and once again pledged to “defend users' absolute right to privacy like no other service.”

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Didi Rankovic

Didi Rankovich is an experienced online journalist, editor, and translator, with a career spanning over ten years writing for major a English-language website in Serbia, and previously working as translator for international organizations and peacekeepers in the Balkans. Rankovich is passionate about free and open source tech and is a head contributor for Reclaim The Net, focusing on lead stories. [email protected]
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