Published: Mon, July 17, 2017
Global Media | By Meredith Barber

Indonesia's Telegram ban 'ineffective'

Indonesia's Telegram ban 'ineffective'

Indonesia has blocked web-based access to a popular messaging service and threatened a full ban on the app due to its "terrorism" content, the government said.

"We are forming a dedicated team of moderators with knowledge of Indonesian culture and language to be able to process reports of terrorist-related content more quickly and accurately", he said.

Durov, who with his brother Nikolai launched Telegram four years ago, told his followers that he was not aware of Indonesia's request to block several chat groups on which radicals are active.

"Telegram is heavily encrypted and privacy-oriented, but we're no friends of terrorists- in fact, every month we block thousands of ISIS-related public channels", Durov added on Sunday, according to The Wall Street Journal.

The web version of the messaging service can no longer be accessed in the archipelago, with preparations to also shut down the application if the company does not prepare standard operating procedures, the government said.

The partial block has sparked public outcry in Indonesia, with Twitter and Facebook exploding with negative comments and some people reporting they were unable to access the web.telegram.org domain.

"Monitoring by the ministry has so far found no criminal elements, recruitment or fund collection for terrorism activities in the application (Telegram)", he said after attending a Hari Raya open house event at Jakel Mall, here today.

"Up to now only 50% (of radical content have been filtered out) by social media platform providers".

As of July 14, Telegram has banned 3,169 Islamic State-related bots and channels in the first two weeks of this month alone.

Unlike rival messenger service WhatsApp which reportedly provided data to Australian police and intelligence officials 657 times previous year in its effort to fight terrorism, Telegram has refused to immediately comply with the Iranian government's request to restrict some of its bots and sticker packs as well as access to Iranian users private chats. The ultimatum on Friday had a condition: if Telegram figured out a way to moderate content then it would stay unblocked, and so, Telegram has announced the creation of such a team.

Durov wants to establish a direct channel of communication with the government regulator, making it easier to work together to identify and block terrorist propaganda in the future.

On Sunday, Durov said that Telegram had blocked channels that were reported by the government, and that the company would take additional steps to remove illegal content.

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