Islamic State turns to Telegram app after Twitter crackdown
New York, Aug 29 (IANS) With the micro-blogging site Twitter coming down heavily on Islamic State-sponsored accounts, the terrorist organisation and its followers are fast joining the heavily-encrypted messaging app Telegram built by a Russian developer.
On Telegram, the IS followers are laying out detailed plans to conduct bombing attacks in the west, voanews.com reported on Monday.
France and Germany have issued statements that they now want a crackdown against them on Telegram.
“Encrypted communications among terrorists constitute a challenge during investigations. Solutions must be found to enable effective investigation… while at the same time protecting the digital privacy of citizens by ensuring the availability of strong encryption,” the statement said.
Recently, IS released a technology guide ranking the security of more than 30 chat apps — including WhatsApp, Telegram and Signal.
Reports indicate that Telegram — which has over 100 million users — is currently hot among IS supporters after WhatsApp initiated end-to-end encryption to its chats.
IS supporters began using Telegram in 2015 shortly after the app announced a new feature called “Channels” that helps users connect anonymously.
In its continued effort to curb terrorism-related activities, Twitter has suspended an additional 235,000 accounts for violating its policies related to promotion of terrorism in the last six months.
Twitter had announced the blocking of more than 125,000 accounts earlier this year which were primarily related to the Islamic State (IS) terror group.
“This brings our overall number of suspensions to 360,000 since the middle of 2015. As noted by numerous third parties, our efforts continue to drive meaningful results, including a significant shift in this type of activity off of Twitter,” the company said in a blog post this month.
The daily Twitter account suspensions are up over 80 per cent since last year with spikes in suspensions immediately following terrorist attacks.
“Our response time for suspending reported accounts, the amount of time these accounts are on Twitter and the number of followers they accumulate have all decreased dramatically. We have also made progress in disrupting the ability of those suspended to immediately return to the platform,” the blog post read.
According to a latest study by the US-based Brookings Institution, IS supporters may be operating over 46,000 active Twitter accounts.