Telegram, a social messaging network, has disabled Hamas channels, but only on Android phones owing to violations of Google’s app store criteria.
Telegram Blocked Two Channels of Hamas
According to CNBC, two channels — hamas_com and al-Qassam brigades — have been blocked for Android users, while other channels used by the group, such as Gaza Now, remain available.
According to The Jerusalem Post, the social media app blamed the blocks on Google’s app store guidelines.
Users are reportedly seeing an error message stating that the channels cannot be watched on “Telegram apps downloaded from the Google Play Store,” meaning that the ban does not apply to the program when downloaded elsewhere or used on a different operating system.
Google Spokesperson Statement
A Google spokesperson, who requested anonymity due to the sensitive nature of the subject matter, verified that the Post’s article was correct.
They pointed the international media to Google’s policy prohibiting violent content “related to terrorism” within apps.
Both Meta and X (previously Twitter) have stated that they have taken steps to block Hamas-linked accounts and curb the propagation of war-related misinformation on their platforms.
However, the social media app has a light touch when it comes to moderation and has avoided eliminating channels unless forced to do so.
International media outlets have contacted Telegram and Google about the restricted channels.
In a statement on October 13th, Telegram CEO Pavel Durov stated that he was hesitant to shut down Hamas-used channels, noting that “tackling war-related coverage is seldom obvious” and that Hamas had used the social media app a few days earlier to warn civilians to flee an area before they assaulted it.
According to Human Rights Watch, Hamas also uses Telegram to broadcast videos of its attacks, and as CNBC notes out in its story today, one of the channels Telegram has blocked is used by Hamas’ military branch.
To read our blog on “Telegram blocked in Iraq for allegedly sharing private data,” click here.