Apple Faces Anti-Telegram Lawsuit Following U.S. Capitol Riot

A U.S. NGO has sued Apple in federal court in a bid to remove secure messaging app Telegram from its App Store, claiming the app fails to filter out far-right extremist activity. 

Telegram’s downloads soared last week after Twitter and Facebook banned U.S. President Donald Trump’s accounts and Google and Apple removed conservative social network Parler from their app stores in the wake of the violent storming of the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6.

The lawsuit, filed Sunday in the U.S. District Court of Northern California by the Coalition for a Safer Web, says Telegram did not take adequate action against users who shared messages containing extremist statements and calls for violence following the riot, thus violating the App Store’s terms of use.

“CSW initiated a public call to action urging Congress and other social media watchdogs to place pressure on Telegram’s management to impose reasonable constraints on the application’s use by white supremacist, anti-Semitic extremist groups, including Proud Boys, Boogaloo Bois, QAnon supporters and extremist groups based in Russia and Europe inciting violence against Jews and black Americans,” the group said in a press release. 

The NGO said it plans to file a similar lawsuit against Google to remove Telegram from Google Play.

The lawsuit is likely to attract criticism from both pro-Kremlin and opposition voices within Russia, who also voiced condemnation after the U.S. tech giants took actions against Trump and his supporters following the Capitol riot.

Telegram was co-founded by Russian tech entrepreneur Pavel Durov as a messaging app for users who sought digital privacy. While the app has enjoyed popularity in Russian-speaking countries and Iran, Durov himself had to leave Russia after clashing with the authorities. 

However, the app has attracted criticism for serving as a haven for extremist groups banned from other apps.

Russia itself unsuccessfully tried to ban Telegram from operating on Russian territory, finally lifting its ban on the app last year.

(c) The Moscow Times


  1. “Russia itself unsuccessfully tried to ban Telegram from operating on Russian territory, finally lifting its ban on the app last year.”

    Which means the Kremlin is using this Telegram for propaganda purposes. The app should be removed if it is being used to destabilize the US through extremists.

    • You can ban one, what about the next 10? You have Viber, Whatsapp and a lot more that are doing exactly the same

      • I’m with you Knut. Any limitations on speech is also a limitation on freedom. These people, usually on the Left, think everyone thinks like they do, that what they hear is the truth when in reality people can think for themselves and separate fiction from reality. Soft tyranny is still tyranny.

        • The problem is defining the line between free speech, hate speech and propaganda. Anything remotely connected to Russia has to be banned. Start with all Russian media like RT and Sputnik, then social media platforms controlled by Russia. Ukraine banned Tass, VK and a few more sites, which stopped a lot of the Russian propaganda.

        • Where did I mention something about free speech? I mentioned that if we close one or ten out, new ones will appear in a very short time since the technology is well known. It probably does not take more than a week before a new program is in circulation. The forerunner of all is IP telephony, which brought with it Skype, developed by a Swedish and a Danish developer and programmed in Estonia.

          As Foccusser rightly says, not all speech falls under free speech. Shouting fire in a crowded theater is not free speech. Incitement to rebellion against the state also falls completely outside this limit. Over a hundred years ago, Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes put it this way in Schenck v. United States:

          “The question in every case is whether the words used are used in such circumstances and are of such a nature as to create a clear and present danger that they will bring about the substantive evils that Congress has a right to prevent. It is a question of proximity and degree. “

  2. This lawsuit and a number of other cases concerning social media have opened a fundamental problem in today’s world; the definition of freedom of speech. This is perhaps one of the most difficult problems facing the modern world with the widespread use of the internet and numerous social media outlets that allows hundreds of millions of people across the globe to say what they want. What is acceptable for one person is an outrage for another. We’ll see how this dilemma ends. I wouldn’t want to be a judge for this…

    • If social media was liable for the content they allow to be published, in comments or articles, as some politicians suggested, we might see a change in attitude by these companies. Then the problem arises, who moderates these comments and articles?

        • Or basically, who can be called independent. One side or the other will start whining if posts or comments are deleted.

          • That’s right. The best thing to do – theoretically – is to allow everything and let the audience decide what is right and wrong by their acceptance or disapproval. This, however, is dangerous for those who are easily influenced and allows too much fake info and hate and etc. being circulated.
            At any rate, this is a topic that requires a lot more thought to be invested to find an answer … if there ever is one to be found.

    • I first went on social media on the old MSN years ago. You could sign up with your real name. There was no hate, or violence, it was only when the Russians found out they could use democracy and freedom of speech as a weapon against us, that the internet become a cesspit.

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