Russian President's Spokesperson Sends A Message To Telegram CEO After Moscow Attack: 'Expected More Attention From Pavel Durov'

In the wake of a terrorist assault on a concert venue in a suburb of Moscow, the Kremlin has issued a warning to Telegram CEO Pavel Durov regarding the platform’s alleged use for terrorist activities.

What Happened: On Thursday, Russian President Vladimir Putin‘s press secretary, Dmitry Peskov, publicly addressed Durov, a Russian national, urging him to take more responsibility for the messaging app’s content. Peskov suggested that terrorists are exploiting the platform, reported Politico.

“We would have expected more attention from Pavel Durov,” said Peskov in an interview with Russia’s pro-government outlet Life. “Because this unique and phenomenal resource from a technological point of view, which grew up before our generation’s eyes, is increasingly becoming a tool in the hands of terrorists — used for terrorist purposes.”

Despite these allegations, Russia currently has no plans to ban Telegram, which is used by approximately 40% of the country’s internet users.

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The warning comes in the aftermath of a deadly attack on a Moscow concert hall, which claimed the lives of at least 143 people. The attackers were reportedly recruited through a Telegram channel linked to ISIS-K, an affiliate of the Islamic State group, which surfaced in late 2014 as a splinter group of the Pakistani Taliban, the report noted.

Telegram did not immediately respond to Benzinga’s request for comments.

Telegram has been under scrutiny for its alleged tolerance of hate speech and conspiracy theories. Durov has previously defended the platform’s stance on freedom of speech, stating that while political debate and criticism are acceptable, promoting violence is not.

“Criticizing local authorities, challenging the status quo and engaging in political debate are OK,” Durov wrote in a blog post. “Meanwhile, promoting violence and calling for actions that can harm innocent people are not OK. This is a rule of thumb we're always applying when moderating public channels.”

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Why It Matters: The warning from the Kremlin follows a series of events that have spotlighted Russia’s security situation. Just days before the Moscow concert hall attack, the U.S. had reportedly issued a confidential warning to Russia about potential terrorist attacks targeting large gatherings in Moscow.

Following the attack, Russian authorities arrested 11 individuals linked to the assault.

Telegram has previously faced regulatory challenges, including a ban in the U.S. state of Montana over concerns about data sharing with foreign adversaries.

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Disclaimer: This content was partially produced with the help of Benzinga Neuro and was reviewed and published by Benzinga editors.

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