German Government Demands Big Tech Crack Down On Telegram, Other Free Speech Apps

Following threats to shut down the pro free speech encrypted messaging platform Telegram, the German government has stepped up its efforts by putting pressure on Apple and Google to take a more hands on approach to limiting the content people are sharing on the app.

Federal Interior Minister Nancy Faeser claimed that the app is contributing to an acceleration of “right-wing extremism” and “conspiracy theories,” in the country.

The minister tweeted “We remind #Apple and #Google of their social responsibility. As long as they offer apps like #Telegram in their stores, they are also a form of accelerator for #right-wing extremism and #conspiracy theories. No place for #hate and #calls for murder!”

In another tweet, Faeser asserted “Everyone has the #right to peaceful assembly. We draw the line when it comes to #hate and #baiting. #Right-wing extremists are increasingly abusing the #Corona demos for their ideology against the #state. We will crack down there with consistent #law enforcement.”

A further statement statement from Germany’s regional interior ministers specifically noted that those organising against the government’s COVID restrictions are using Telegram.

“The social network Telegram and comparable providers serve people in Germany as a networking [platform for Covid protest movements], corona deniers and right-wing radicals,” the statement read.

Last week, Faeser told the German media “We cannot rule this out,” when asked if the platform will be targeted for censorship.

“A shutdown would be grave and clearly a last resort. All other options must be exhausted first,” Faeser clarified.

The minister also told the newspaper that while it is currently unclear what legal action would be needed to shut down the platform, the German government is in consultation with the European Union regarding potential regulation of it.

The Epoch Times notes that in Germany, which has implemented some of the most severe pandemic restrictions, “Telegram has been used as a hub of communication for the protest movement against the measures established to fight the CCP virus, including lockdowns, intermittent mask mandates, and restrictions for the unvaccinated.”

Telegram has been shut down or blocked in other countries including Iran, China, Pakistan, India, Thailand, and Russia.

The platform saw a huge surge in users last year after Facebook owned Watts App introduced a controversial privacy update which led to concerns that the app would hand over user data to its parent company. It also came at the same time as President Trump’s purge from big tech social media platforms.

Telegram founder Pavel Durov warned that people are “being held hostage by tech monopolies.”

In addition to being independent from big tech, Telegram promises robust end-to-end encryption, ensuring messages remain private.

This has made Telegram a target for authoritarians and big tech monopolists.

In the U.S. lobbyist group The Coalition for a Safer Web even filed a lawsuit against Apple in an effort to get Telegram removed from the app store, claiming that it allows ‘extremists’ to spread ‘hate speech’.


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