“Our terms of service explicitly prohibit public calls for violence,” said Telegram spokesperson Mike Ravdonikas. “In the past 24 hours, we have banned dozens of public channels that broadcast calls for violence to thousands of subscribers.”
Asked if the removals were related to the violent blockade of the US Capitol building on January 6, Rafdunikas said Telegram would “examine all reports received” and that the company “is monitoring the current situation closely.”
The company confirmed that a number of TechCrunch accounts had previously noted the promotion of white supremacy, Nazi icons, and other forms of right-wing extremism were part of the new enforcement measures, which are still expanding. Some of the blocked channels were still viewable on the Telegram web client.
One of those groups now removed expressed regret for banning Telegram in a post displaying a Nazi flag and a warning, “You can’t kill an idea.” And before the channel was removed, the girl had boasted of more than 10,000 followers.
Several extremist channels began deploying backup accounts, directing subscribers to dozens of other groups where they could continue to congregate. Other sympathetic channels have chronicled the bans in real time, posting screenshots documenting violations of Telegram’s terms of service.