They Are Coming For Telegram

January 18, 2021

Maybe download it while you still can…

Coalition for a Safer Web Sues Apple, Demands Telegram be Deleted From App Store

The Coalition for a Safer Web is a Washington, DC-based nonprofit organisation that advocates for new technologies and policies to remove extremist content from social media. The group is headed by former US Ambassador to Morocco Mark Ginsberg, now a cybersecurity and social media platform adviser.

On 17 January, the Coalition for a Safer Web filed a lawsuit against Apple urging it to remove the Telegram messenger from its app store which, according to its filing, “is being used to intimidate, threaten, and coerce members of the public”.

The coalition complained that “neo-Nazi” and “racist” messages as well as hate speech were allegedly distributed on Telegram. The organisation has filed a lawsuit in a northern California district court and claims that Telegram violates Apple’s app store rules by allowing the publication of this kind of content.

The case also contains accusations of Telegram being a “tool to facilitate and carry out its terrorist activity, including the attack on the United States Capitol that took place on 4 January 2021”. According to the suit, Telegram is a vehicle facilitating voices of violence and extremism across the US.

“Telegram stands out by itself as the superspreader [of hateful speech], even compared to Parler”, Mark Ginsberg, a head of the Coalition for a Safer Web, said in an interview with The Washington Post.

As The Washington Post noted, the prospects for the suit’s success are unclear. Under Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, online platforms are given high immunity from liability for most of the content they distribute. The decision to keep Telegram in the app store is not just protected by the 1996 Communications Decency Act, but by Apple’s right to free speech.

A similar lawsuit, according to coalition lawyer Keith Altman, is planned against Google.

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Activists and media take aim at Telegram for welcoming free speech and privacy lovers who reject Big Tech

Tens of millions have made the switch after recent privacy and free speech concerns of Big Tech giants.

A mere six months ago, the media painted Pavel Durov, the founder of Telegram, as a hero who “took on the Kremlin and won” when he rejected Russian security services’ demand to allow them access to content on the encrypted messaging app.

At the time, Telegram was described favorably as the app of choice of Russian opposition groups. But these days, what some might easily describe as “opposition groups” are referred to as “angry conservatives” – and Durov and his fellow privacy and free speech enthusiast, Signal founder Brian Acton, are starting to be treated as their enablers.

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