On January 18, 2021, Telegram founder Pavel Durov posted to his public channel claiming that the app’s moderation team has dedicated much of the past few weeks shutting down hundreds of public calls for violence.
Telegram Cracks Down on Harmful US Protestors
“Telegram welcomes peaceful debate and protest, but our Terms of Service explicitly prohibit distributing public calls to violence.” he wrote. “Сivil movements all over the world rely on Telegram in order to stand up for human rights without resorting to inflicting harm.”
Durov stated that in early January, Telegram moderators started to received an increased number of reports about US activity. Had they not spent time blocking the calls, he says that they would have reached “tens of thousands” of people.
Telegram has seen a significant boost in users over the same period, many of which are presumably former WhatsApp users. WhatsApp now forces you to share your information with Facebook, which is turning some folks away.
However, public channels are only one part of Telegram. Primarily, the app is for private messaging with end-to-end encryption, which protects conversations from outside access.
Durov didn’t mention anything about those conversations at all, and instead expressed his gratitude to the users that reported channels that actively incited violence.
How the Capitol Riots Affected Social Media
Telegram isn’t the only platform that has felt unprecedented pressure to moderate the violent threats that have come about since the defeat of US President Donald Trump in the 2020 presidential election.
A ban has been placed on Trump’s Facebook and Instagram accounts. And this will only be lifted once president-elect Joe Biden and vice-president-elect Kamala Harris have been sworn into office.
Twitter deleted some of Trump’s tweets after he violated its Civic Integrity Policy. And Bumble turned off its politics filter when users started using it to find Capitol rioters.
Telegram, like most social media platforms, welcomes political debate as long as people make their points respectfully. It’s reassuring to see that it will not hesitate to stop those who incite people to inflict harm on others.