(Image: Adobe)

Encrypted messaging platform Telegram has banned more than 350,000 bots and channels belonging to terrorists and child abusers in the first nine months of 2020.

The messaging service, which has become the platform of choice for extremist groups banned from Twitter and Facebook, has two channels called ISIS Watch and Stop Child Abuse on which it reports the number of channels or bots they have removed on a daily basis.

Jihadist groups had 258,018 bots and channels punted off Telegram’s platform between January and September, with a whopping 56,858 accounts getting banned in April.

Terrorist groups are known for their use of technology to groom recruits, distribute propaganda and organise acts of political violence. Banning the accounts on a service like Telegram assists in disrupting their activities, but does not mean that the same users will not attempt to jump onto Telegram again to upload the same content. 

At least one right-wing extremist group boasts that they have “many private backups to be released if the public go down. Do not worry”. 

Child abusers have also turned to Telegram in an attempt to distribute material. The messaging platform has banned 92,121 bots and channels so far this calendar year.

There were 17,086 accounts with material uploaded by child abusers banned in September, 14,953 accounts in August and 14,634 accounts in July.

Peter Fray

Help us keep up the fight

Get Crikey for just $1 a week and support our journalists’ important work of uncovering the hypocrisies that infest our corridors of power.

If you haven’t joined us yet, subscribe today and get your first 12 weeks for $12.

Cancel anytime.

Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey