MANILA, Philippines – Executives of messaging application Telegram shut down a public channel that was accused of inciting violence during anti-government protests in Iran.
On Saturday, December 30, Iranian telecommunications minister Mohammad-Javad Azari Jagromi, tweeted Pavel Durov, CEO and founder of Telegram about a Telegram channel "encouraging hateful conduct, use of Molotov cocktails, armed uprising, and social unrest," Recode reported.
Durov replied a few hours later, saying they would block such a channel, "regardless of its size and political affilitation" due to it calling for violence.
Calls for violence are prohibited by the Telegram rules. If confirmed, we'll have to block such a channel, regardless of its size and political affiliation. — Pavel Durov (@durov) December 30, 2017
A Telegram channel (amadnews) started to instruct their subscribers to use Molotov cocktails against police and got suspended due to our "no calls for violence" rule. Be careful – there are lines one shouldn't cross. Similar case from October – https://t.co/OWQFBLywjr — Pavel Durov (@durov) December 30, 2017
Durov also noted later on December 31 the Iranian government was blocking access to Telegram for most Iranians after the company refused to shut down peaceful protest channels.
Iranian authorities are blocking access to Telegram for the majority of Iranians after our public refusal to shut down https://t.co/9E4kXZYcP9 and other peacefully protesting channels. — Pavel Durov (@durov) December 31, 2017
Telegram has around 40 million users in Iran alone, with the service allowing groups to socially coordinate in a manner that wasn't previously possible. – Rappler.com
Victor Barreiro Jr is part of Rappler's Central Desk. An avid patron of role-playing games and science fiction and fantasy shows, he also yearns to do good in the world, and hopes his work with Rappler helps to increase the good that's out there.