Telegram says it will remove terrorist content after Indonesia threatens a ban

Indonesia Restricts Messaging App Over'Terrorism Content

Telegram is a free Russian-designed messaging app that was launched in 2013

JAKARTA, Indonesia (AP) - The encrypted messaging app Telegram is forming a team of moderators who are familiar with Indonesian culture and language so it can remove "terrorist-related content" faster, its co-founder said Sunday, after Indonesia limited access to the app and threatened a total ban. Indonesians are among the world's biggest users of social media.

On Friday, the Indonesian government blocked access to Telegram due to concerns of the service being used to spread terrorist propaganda.

He said ICT Ministry officials recently emailed the company a list of public channels that the ministry suspected of being a haven for terrorism-related content.

The Communications and Information Ministry's director general of information applications, Samuel Abrijani Pangerapan, said the ministry was also looking into the possibility of blocking the mobile phone-based Telegram app.

The Southeast Asian nation has grappled with terrorism for more than a decade.

"Telegram is heavily-encrypted and privacy-oriented, but we're no friends of terrorists", he said.

Indonesian president Joko Widodo said on Sunday that other social media platforms will not be affected by the government's decision on Telegram.

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Telegram has stated that all its chats are private territory and that it does not process any requests related to them.

Durov said Telegram blocks thousands of IS-related channels a month and is "always open to ideas on how to get better at this". As a partial measure, it asked internet companies to block access to 11 addresses offering the web version of Telegram.

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.

"This has to be done because there are many channels on this service that are full of radical and terrorist propaganda, hatred, ways to make bombs, how to carry out attacks, disturbing images, which are all in conflict with Indonesian law", the communications ministry said in a statement on its website.

The service offers end-to-end encryption for all users which has seen it used widely among terror cells.

Infiltration, she said, was more "realistic and urgent" and the government should aim to identify and map out ISIS networks on Telegram.

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