The owners of the Telegram app are taking action against so-called hate rhetoric online for the first time, following intense pressure from the German authorities. 64 channels have been blocked so far, but the government wants to see further measures.
According to information from the Süddeutsche Zeitung, Telegram has blocked a total of 64 channels in the past few days. Previously, German authorities have tried to remove Telegram from Google’s and Apple’s app sites since the company refused to assist the German state in tracking so-called “extremist” content.
The decision comes after a meeting between Telegram and the German government on Thursday and was implemented on Friday. German Interior Minister Nancy Faeser has made it clear that she wants to take further restrictive measures against freedom of expression.
“We are constantly experiencing new waves of hatred and threats against people and against our democracy in Telegram. We act quickly and consistently against this,” says Faeser.
The Telegram app has become increasingly popular with activists and protesters, especially as platforms such as Facebook become more responsive to government pressure, Reuters reports. So far, the company has not complied with the demand to delete content.
However, this has recently caused growing anger in the federal government. The first procedures were unsuccessful because the German authorities could not even find an address for the company to which they could have sent a notification as Telegram is based in Dubai. Most recently, the government openly threatened the company with massive fines of up to 55 million euros.