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Telegram Bends The Knee And Bans Channels Over ‘Misinformation’

Germany is reportedly applying the pressure to Telegram over channels spreading the likes of COVID “misinformation” and those allegedly sharing “anti-Semitic” content – with the platform reportedly blocking such channels [1] in the country.

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Germany-based nonprofit organization CeMas (Center for Monitoring, Analysis and Strategy), who, per their Twitter bio [3], observes and proclaims to have “expertise on conspiracy ideologies, anti-Semitism and right-wing extremism,” broke the news of an alleged COVID conspiracy theorist having their channel blocked.

What CeMas noted in their Twitter post was the unique circumstances pointing out that Telegram’s notification that such action was taken in response to “local laws.”

“Last night [Attila Hildmann’s] [Telegram] channel was blocked. Telegram justifies this with reference to “local laws”. That is new. Is there a paradigm shift in Telegram?”

CeMas further pointed out that Telegram’s terms of service only note that channels will be blocked or deleted typically under a few circumstances – namely using the app to scam people, posting unlawful pornography, promoting violence on “publicly viewable Telegram channels” and running afoul of an app store’s rules.

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“A little background on how Telegram restricts channels and groups: Broadly speaking, there are two options – a complete ban for violating Telegram’s Terms of Service. That’s not many.

“The other possibility is the restriction on iOS and Google Play Store devices: The channels and groups can still be accessed on the desktop and in the web app. Incidentally, Apple has more bans because pornography is also not allowed here.”

But in this case, it wasn’t either of the typical scenarios. Instead, Telegram users in Germany were greeted with a notification that certain channels’ content violate “local laws” in the country.

But outside of Hildmann’s Telegram account getting blocked for German users of the platform, another channel belonging to a 59-year-old was not only blocked, but his home in Bavaria, Germany was also raided and he now faces charges over alleged “Holocaust denial.”

For those that aren’t aware, openly speaking about denying aspects of the Holocaust or instances of general anti-Semitism in Germany is illegal, and the Bavarian man could face up to five years in prison for his alleged instances of using Telegram to cast doubt on the Holocaust.

Interestingly, this crackdown on what was thought to be the free speech platform started taking form after executives from Telegram had met with German Interior Minister Nancy Faeser earlier in February.

Faeser has apparently threatened to completely shutdown the app in Germany, and thus it appears that Telegram is playing ball and censoring the content in the country proactively.

It seems as though Telegram is bending the knee so as to retain a presence in a country of more than 80 million people.

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