- Russian communications watchdog, Roskomnadzor, lifted its ban on instant messaging application Telegram.
- On 16th April 2018, Russia banned the use of Telegram within its geographical reach as it propagated extremist views and terrorism on its platform.
Pavel Durov, a Russian by birth, agreed to cooperate with the authorities in combating the major hurdles faced by the application, telegram. Durov had conflicting views with Russia’s general prosecutor as well that demanded sharing of information to the government for better regulation and policing.
Per Nytimes, The prohibition at large was unsuccessful as the Russian Foreign Ministry and COVID task force have released information via their Telegram channels. Telegram refused to cooperate with Federal Security Service after an investigation with two suspects led them to the messaging application who declined to cooperate. The investigation took place after the Saint Petersburg metro bombing in 2017.
Telegram Taking Steps to Curb Extreme Content
Telegram increased its following in the country by constantly changing its IP addresses and employed ‘domain fronting’ to continue providing service without any hesitance. The restrictions took an ugly turn when legitimate IP addresses from Google and Amazon too were blocked. Furthermore, VPN and proxy services were prohibited to curb spread terrorism via digital mediums. Speculations that came through Russian news site Znak are ripe that a few members of parliament passed a bill to lift the ban on Telegram.
The telegram was used by Russian spokesperson Dmitry Peskov after a few developers helped the agent bypass the barriers placed by Roskomnadzor. The officials at Telegram claim that they can spot and delete extreme content without compromising user privacy.
Russia contributes to 20% of the total population on Telegram – approximately 30 million users in the country itself. The instant messaging service which is in direct competition with Whatsapp and Facebook has reached a total of 400 million monthly active users over the past two years.
Durov urged authorities to lift the ban earlier this month and has thus been successful. Durov is a celebrated entrepreneur in Russia and regarded as the Mark Zuckerberg of Russian internet. Furthermore, the lifting of the ban will be a home run for the app as it seems to grow and expand in the country.