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History of Telegram, Which Facing Fine for Online Gambling

Translator

Tempo.co

5 June 2024 12:12 WIB

TEMPO.CO, Jakarta - Indonesia's Ministry of Communication and Information (Kominfo) has issued a strong warning to digital organizers in Indonesia who do not eradicate content related to online gambling, one of which is Telegram. The reason is, the short message application from Russia is considered uncooperative.

"Today I want to convey something important, namely a strong warning to all managers of digital platforms, such as X (Twitter), Telegram, Google, Meta, and TikTok," said Minister of Communication and Information Budi Arie Setiadi in a virtual press conference about online gambling in South Jakarta, Friday, May 24, 2024.

He said that digital platforms such as Telegram would be subject to a fine of Rp500 million if they continued to allow slot gambling content. This is based on monitoring by the Ministry of Communication and Information which still finds a lot of content with keywords related to online gambling.

"If you don't cooperate in eradicating online gambling on your platform, then I will impose a fine of up to Rp500 million per content. "I repeat, I will give fine up to Rp500 million per content," said Budi.

History of Telegram

According to Britannica, Telegram is a cloud-based instant messaging application owned by two brothers, Pavel Durov and Nikolai Durov.

Initially, Pavel Durov founded VKontakte or VK, a social networking site that is often considered the Russian version of Facebook in 2006.

When VK's base grew to more than 100 million users in the early 2010s, the site also attracted the attention of local governments. In 2011, the Russian government asked the company to censor pages related to the parliamentary election process.

However, Durov refuses and accepts pressure to sell VK, as well as a visit from a team of heavily armed police. In the end, they sold their remaining shares in the company and left Russia.

In 2013, the two Russian entrepreneurs founded Telegram, which allows communication without government interference. Unlike its competitor, WhatsApp, Telegram offers encrypted secret chats which have attracted some extremist groups, such as neo-Nazis.

In 2015, the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) reported that a number of Telegram channels and groups were connected to the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) rebel organization. But the Durov brothers announced that ISIS public channels would be blocked from the app.

In 2023, The Atlantic named Telegram the most important app in the world. The reason is that the short messaging application played a role in the Wagner Group leader Yevgeny Prigozhin's armed rebellion against the Russian military leadership.

Additionally, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky used Telegram to share Russo-Ukrainian War news updates.

Blockade by Kominfo

Regarding the threat of a fine of Rp500 million for online gambling content, Kominfo apparently blocked Telegram on Friday, July 14, 2017. Termination of access carried out under the pretext of instant chat services could endanger state security, because it does not provide standard procedures (SOP) for handling cases of radicalism and terrorism.

"This blocking must be done because many of the channels on the platform contain propaganda of radicalism, hatred, terrorism, invitations or methods for assembling bombs, methods of carrying out attacks, disturbing images, etc. which are contrary to statutory regulations. invitation in Indonesia," said a press release from the Ministry of Communication and Information, Friday, July 14, 2017, as quoted by Antara.

Telegram CEO Pavel Durov also expressed his surprise as to why Telegram was blocked in Indonesia.

“It's strange, we never received a request or protest from the Indonesian government. We will investigate and make an announcement," said @durov when replying to a netizen's tweet on X.

MELYNDA DWI PUSPITA

Editor's Choice: Gov`t May Lift Bans on Telegram

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