As details emerged after ISIS' coordinated, deadly attacks on Paris and Beirut last week, one name stood out in conversations about communications channels: Telegram. ISIS operatives use Telegram and other encrypted messaging services to communicate -- a fact that was apparently news to Telegram. In response, this week the company blocked 78 ISIS-related channels in 12 languages. "We were disturbed to learn that Telegram's public channels were being used by ISIS to spread their propaganda," the company writes. Telegram found and blocked the channels based on user-submitted reports.
"All Telegram chats and group chats are private amongst their participants," the company writes in an additional news update today. "We do not process any requests related to them. But sticker sets, channels, and bots on Telegram are publicly available." Users can report "objectionable" or illegal content by sending a message to email@example.com. The company says an update this week will help streamline its reporting function.
"While we do block terrorist (e.g. ISIS-related) bots and channels, we will not block anybody who peacefully expresses alternative opinions," Telegram says.
This week, online activist group Anonymous declared war on ISIS, promising massive cyber attacks. The choreographed nature of ISIS' terror campaign in Paris highlighted how organized the group has become -- on Tuesday, news broke that ISIS even has a 24-hour help desk aimed at teaching members how to use encryption and secure communications. The UK has pledged to establish "elite cyber offensive forces" to fight potential online attacks from ISIS and other forces.
This week we blocked 78 ISIS-related channels across 12 languages. More info on our official channel: https://t.co/69Yhn2MCrK— Telegram Messenger (@telegram) November 18, 2015