Mobile messaging service, Telegram has shut down dozens of communication channels used by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) amid reports that the messaging app has emerged as an important new promotional and recruitment platform for the terrorist group.
The service, set up two years ago, has caught on in many corners of the globe as an ultra-secure way to quickly upload and share videos, texts and voice messages.
A new feature of Telegram that was introduced in September has become the preferred method for Islamic State to broadcast news and share videos of military victories or sermons, according to security researchers. The group used Telegram to claim responsibility for the Paris attacks, which left 129 people dead, and the bombing of a Russian airliner over Egypt last month, which killed 224.
In a statement late Wednesday, Telegram said it had blocked 78 Islamic State related channels over the past week, and improved ways for users to report illegal or objectionable activity on the site.
The Company said the move would only affect public channels and automated response systems, messages between individuals and group chats that can include up to 200 users would not be affected.
The statement reads: “We were disturbed to learn that Telegram’s public channels were being used by ISIS to spread their propaganda.
“We are carefully reviewing all reports sent to us at [email protected] and are taking appropriate action to block such channels. As a result, this week alone we blocked 78 ISIS-related channels across 12 languages.
“We are also introducing an easier way for our users to report objectionable public content in the upcoming update of Telegram this week.
“While we do block terrorist (eg ISIS-related) bots and channels, we will not block anybody who peacefully expresses alternative opinions.”
Telegram rose in popularity after growing public awareness of encryption after the Edward Snowden revelations, It now says it has 60 million active users.