Indonesia Limits Telegram Messaging Service, Threatens To Ban App Over Security Concerns


Following Indonesia's ban on popular messaging app Telegram last Friday, the government justified it on the grounds that the service was being used to spread radical content online and so it would take a firm stance against any social media platforms used to spread such content in the country.

"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", Durov said in a Telegram post, as quoted by the Associated Press.

In his announcement, he explained that officials at the Ministry of Communication and IT in Indonesia had emailed Telegram a list of public channels with terrorism-related content in Telegram but the list wasn't processed quickly enough.

On Sunday, Durov reiterated that Telegram is heavily encrypted and privacy-oriented.

As a result of the policy, people could not access the web-based Telegram, but still could use the Telegram app installed on mobile phones.

"I appreciate the response from Pavel Durov and the ministry will follow it up as soon as possible in terms of technical details so that standard operating procedures can be implemented immediately", Rudiantara said.

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

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Unlike rival messenger service WhatsApp which reportedly provided data to Australian police and intelligence officials 657 times a year ago 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.

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

Samuel Pangerapan, the director general of informatics applications at the ministry, said the app is used to recruit Indonesians into armed groups and to spread hate and methods for carrying out attacks including bomb making.

On Sunday, the Indonesian communications ministry did not respond to requests for comment.

Its strong encryption has contributed to its popularity with those concerned about privacy and secure communications in the digital era but also attracted armed groups and other criminal elements.

Telegram, which blocks thousands of ISIL-related channels a month, "always open to ideas on how to get better at this", Mr Durov said.