Instant messaging service Telegram says it has removed content related to the Islamic State (IS) group from its platform, claiming that the app does not tolerate any activity or campaigning that supports terrorism.
Telegram representative Remi Vaughn said that by combining user reports, human moderators and algorithms, the messaging apps regularly removes IS-related content when it is found.
“While Telegram is a platform for free speech, we do not welcome calls for violence,” Vaughn said in a statement sent to The Jakarta Post.
Telegram has created a channel that publishes daily updates on the channels, groups and bots that spread IS-related and terrorist content that the platform has removed every day, he said.
People could also report such content via an in-app button or by emailing email@example.com, according to information on Telegram.
Previously, the Terrorism Research and Analysis Consortium (TRAC) revealed that the suicide bomber who blew himself up at the Medan Police headquarters in Medan, North Sumatra, had pledged allegiance to the new IS leader before the attack took place on Wednesday.
The think tank, which revealed the information on its Twitter account, @TRACterrorism, cited the news spread by supporters of an IS-linked homegrown terrorist group, Jamaah Ansharut Daulah (JAD), on their Telegram channel as its source.
SITE Intelligence Group, a United States-based company that tracks the online activity of jihadist organizations, as well as the International Association for Counterterrorism and Security Professionals Center for Security Studies (IACSP), also concurred with TRAC’s findings.
IACSP Indonesia’s country director Rakyan Adi Brata said that his team, which monitors the activities of certain Telegram chat groups comprising IS supporters, found a conversation clarifying the identity of the suicide bomber — whom the police have identified as Rabbial Muslim Nasution.
A screenshot of the conversation obtained by The Jakarta Post on Thursday featured a message that said the suicide bomber was a member of the Medan cell.
IACSP has found at least 12 Telegram chat groups, each comprising hundreds of members, in which the participants actively spread IS ideology — confirming previous analysis from experts who have said that the highly encrypted messaging service has been widely used by terrorist organizations to spread propaganda and recruit members.
The Indonesian government blocked the browser version of Telegram in July 2017 for its extensive use by local terrorists. However, after Telegram reportedly agreed to create a system to filter out content related to terrorism and radicalism, the government restored full access to the app in August of the same year.