Germany Wants Telegram Removed from App Stores

Photo credit: Reuters

Citing the platform’s failure to delete calls for violence and hate speech, German Federal Interior Minister Nancy Faeser has called on Thursday on tech giants to ban the Telegram app from their offerings in the country.

Faeser has used Twitter to call on Apple and Google to accept responsibility for apps that are offered in their stores while harboring illegal content.

She specifically named Telegram, claiming that its platform accelerates the spread of conspiracy theories as well as right-wing extremism and – what’s even more serious- calls for harm against individuals.

Faeser’s remarks reaffirming the government’s aggressive stance on Telegram emerged following her meeting with regional governments and several days after Germany threatened to block Telegram as a last resort.

The block would be used if the platform fails to halt the spreading of hatred and extremism and to work with the government, which is pressuring the company to address its hands-off approach to extremist content on its platform.

Regional interior ministers have issued a statement following the meeting stressing that Telegram and similar providers offer platform for right-wing radicals, corona deniers, and Covid protest movements in Germany.

German government’s clash with Telegram focuses on the belief of the authorities that the application infringes on the German Network Enforcement Act, according to which social media companies are mandated to quickly remove any illegal content after an official complaint is filed.

Telegram was previously accused of not responding when asked to delete far-right content by the German Federal Criminal Police (BKA). The company has also failed to provide the German government an official with a person to contact if they need to complain about content on the platform.

The letters with the demands were sent in April 2021 to the Telegram’s headquarters after previously in January, German Justice Minister Marco Buschmann warned the company that it must adhere to German law or face millions of euros in fines.

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