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Telegram App Shuts Down 78 ISIS-Related Channels

The extremist group used the app to claim credit for the Paris attacks and share propaganda using public channels in multiple languages.

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Following public and political pressure , messaging app Telegram blocked dozens of ISIS-related channels on Wednesday after the terror group used the platform to claim credit for the terrorist attacks that left 129 dead in Paris.

Soon, channels in different languages that had been sharing ISIS press releases and propaganda videos were disappearing from the app.

Important. Major #IS user on @Telegram: "the war on Telegram has started". #IS accounts suspended. BIG policy shift.

One channel, which called itself the "Islamic Cyber Army Elite Section" and has now been taken down, shared a message warning its followers that Telegram was taking action against ISIS accounts.

Telegram tweeted to confirm that they had blocked "78 ISIS-related channels across 12 languages" after users reported them as abusive.

This week we blocked 78 ISIS-related channels across 12 languages. More info on our official channel: https://t.co/69Yhn2MCrK

"We were disturbed to learn that Telegram's public channels were being used by ISIS to spread their propaganda," Telegram said in a statement posted on its public channel within the app.

After thanking the users that reported the ISIS accounts, Telegram said that it would be introducing "an easier way for our users to report objectionable public content" in an update to the app, which will be coming out later this week.

According to the app's FAQ, "While we do block terrorist (e.g. ISIS-related) bots and channels, we will not block anybody who peacefully expresses alternative opinions."

This move goes against previous public statements from Telegram's founder and CEO, Pavel Durov, who has in the past mocked proposals to take down ISIS content from the app.

In the past, ISIS accounts have quickly moved from one platform to another, so if the ban remains in place, it's likely that the group's supporters will begin using a new app to communicate within the next few weeks.

Ellie Hall is a reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in Washington, DC. Her secure PGP fingerprint is 6055 A264 DADD AADC 347E 5986 547C C11C DD7D 176A.

Contact Ellie Hall at ellie.hall@buzzfeed.com.

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