On December 26, 2016, one day after MEMRI exposed Telegram as ISIS’s and other jihadis’ “app of choice” – as published by the The Washington Post on its front page on December 24 – Telegram responded by creating its ISIS Watch channel alleging, in daily updates, that the platform is removing ISIS content. As of January 3, the channel has 3,357 members. (To read the MEMRI report, click here.)
ISIS Watch Channel: “Our Abuse Team Actively Bans ISIS Content”
The channel states: “Our abuse team actively bans ISIS content on Telegram.
Following your reports, an average of 70 ISIS channels are terminated each day before they reach any traction. In the recent months alone we’ve shut down: September: 1987 ISIS bots and channels; October: 1800 ISIS bots and channels; November: 2094 ISIS bots and channels; December 2013 ISIS bots and channels… ” It also gives instructions about how to report content to the Telegram abuse team.
Both Pavel Durov’s Twitter account and the official Telegram account announced the new channel. The following are related Telegram and Twitter announcements and posts.
Within a day of its launch, the ISIS Watch channel had over 1,600 members; a few days later, that number had more than doubled.
Telegram Seems To Be Doing What Twitter Did For Years – Taking Little Or No Real Action Against Terrorist Content
It should also be noted that ISIS Watch provides no proof that Telegram is actually removing or banning the content that it claims to be removing or banning. Even if now some bots are being removed, accounts are proliferating unobstructed. The company seems to be doing what Twitter did before it with regard to removing terrorist content: Over the course of a couple of years, Twitter claimed numerous times that it was doing this but was taking little or no real action, and allowed it to continue to proliferate until the horrific video of the beheading of James Foley and other American and Western journalists was disseminated via the platform in August 2014. Following this, Twitter changed its approach and began to severely curb terrorist content on its platform, to the point where many jihadis have tired of having accounts shut down and will not even try to use it any more.
In contrast, Telegram’s first announcement that it had removed any terrorist content at all – a mere 78 ISIS-connected public channels – came only after the widescale Paris attacks in November 2015 whose planners were found to have used the platform to coordinate the attacks. Just two days ago, German police arrested a Syrian refugee who allegedly asked an ISIS contact via Telegram for €180,000 to fund an attack using an explosives-packed vehicle. It is going to take government pressure, and perhaps also media pressure, to push Telegram to take real and verifiable action to remove terrorist content on its platform.
ISIS Watch Posts: Information, Announcements, Reports; Posts And Claims By Durov
Channel information for ISIS Watch
Announcement Of Channel’s Creation And Preliminary Report On Bots And Channels That Have Been Banned On Telegram
Report On Content Banned On December 26, 2016
Reports Of Content Banned December 30, 2016-January 3, 2017
Telegram’s Twitter Announcement Of ISIS Watch: “Every Day We Block Over 60 ISIS-Related Channels Before They Get Any Traction, More Than 2,000 Channels Each Month”
Durov States That Telegram Is Taking Steps To Stop ISIS On The Platform, And Retweets Telegram Twitter Announcement: “Some Media Claimed Telegram Did Little Or Nothing To Stop ISIS From Using Its Platform. Nothing Can Be Further From The Truth!”
Durov Responds To A Tweet To Him Of Washington Post Story From Journalist Ariel Ben Solomon
 Dailymail.co.uk, January 2, 2017.