Telegram App and ISIS: Chat App Is Taking Down Channels With Possible Links to Terrorists

Telegram App and ISIS: Chat App Is Taking Down Channels With Possible Links to Terrorists

The encrypted messaging app Telegram announced Wednesday that it had blocked 78 public channels possibly being used by terrorists with the Islamic State group, or ISIS, to communicate and spread propaganda. The security sweep came after Telegram users reported the channels to the company in the wake of Friday's attacks on Paris

"We were disturbed to learn that Telegram's public channels were being used by ISIS to spread their propaganda," the app announced on its own Telegram channel. The app was able to remove 78 public ISIS channels including 12 languages from its app with the help of reports sent to abuse@telegram.org, the company said in the announcement. 

Telegram founder and CEO Pavel Durov tweeted Thursday that privacy is still the app's top priority, pointing out that the channels removed were public, as opposed to the app's private chat option.

Cyber war against ISIS: Telegram's cyber shutdown comes after self-proclaimed hacktivist group Anonymous waged war on ISIS on Saturday in the wake of a series of terrorist attacks in Paris on Nov. 13, which left at least 129 dead and hundreds injured. In a video, Anonymous vowed to remove any sites promoting propaganda for the terrorist organization. 

Ghost Security Group, an online counterterrorism group that works closely with the U.S. government, told Mic on Wednesday that it had banned over 110,000 ISIS-affiliated Twitter accounts to date. The group said that Anonymous may actually harm counterterrorism by removing ISIS-affiliated pages with valuable intel before scanning them. 

"When it comes to terrorist attacks, one of the big worries is that you could take down forums and cost someone their lives," DigitaShadow, an alias for a Ghost Security Group member, told Mic. "Anonymous has a habit of shooting in every direction and asking questions later."