San Francisco: Telegram CEO Pavel Durov has come out to defend his messaging app for not taking down some of the controversial Israel-Hamas war related content, claiming it can prove to be an important channel for information.
He admitted that earlier this week, Hamas used Telegram to warn civilians in Ashkelon, a coastal city in Israel, to leave the area ahead of their missile strikes.
“Would shutting down their channel help save lives — or would it endanger more lives?” asked Durov in a post.
He said it is always tempting to act on emotional impulses.
“But such complex situations require thorough consideration that should also take into account the differences between social platforms,” the Telegram CEO said.
However, he revealed that Telegram’s moderators and AI tools are removing millions of obviously harmful content from the public platform daily.
“However, tackling war-related coverage is seldom obvious,” he added.
Unlike other apps that algorithmically promote shocking content to unsuspecting people, on Telegram, users receive only the content to which they specifically subscribed, said Durov.
“As such, it’s unlikely that Telegram channels can be used to significantly amplify propaganda. Instead, they serve as a unique source of first-hand information for researchers, journalists, and fact-checkers,” he noted.
Durov’s comments came as Telegram’s role in the information dissemination has come under attack.
Social media platforms like X (formerly Twitter), Meta, TikTok and Google-owned YouTube face scrutiny by the regulators on how they are handling misinformation during the ongoing Israel-Hamas war.
Durov further said that while it would be easy for them to destroy this source of information, “doing so risks exacerbating an already dire situation”.