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Google Enforces Block on Hamas-Affiliated Telegram Channels

In a recent development, Google has compelled Telegram to block specific channels affiliated with Hamas, a designated terrorist organization in various countries. The action taken by Google has resulted in the restriction of access to certain Hamas-related channels, including ‘hamas_com’ and ‘al-Qassam brigades,’ exclusively for Android users. However, the accessibility of the ‘Gaza Now’ channel remains unaffected at present.

According to CNBC’s report, the decision to block these channels on Telegram was in response to violations of Google’s app store guidelines, which strictly prohibit violent content linked to terrorism within apps. While the ban appears to be specific to Telegram apps downloaded from the Google Play Store, it may not apply to the app if downloaded from other sources or on different platforms.

A Google spokesperson, speaking on condition of anonymity due to the sensitivity of the matter, confirmed the accuracy of the report and emphasized the company’s stringent policies against terrorist content dissemination.

While tech giants like Meta and Twitter have also taken measures to restrict Hamas-associated accounts and the spread of misleading information regarding the conflict, Telegram has historically adopted a more lenient approach to content moderation, often being reluctant to remove channels unless compelled to do so.

Pavel Durov, the CEO of Telegram, expressed his reluctance to shut down Hamas-affiliated channels in a recent post, citing the complexity of moderating war-related coverage. Durov pointed out that Hamas has utilized Telegram to issue warnings to civilians prior to launching attacks. However, it is essential to recognize that Hamas also employs Telegram to disseminate videos of its attacks, as highlighted by Human Rights Watch. One of the blocked channels on Telegram is directly linked to Hamas’ military wing, adding further complexity to the situation.

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