Telegram Has Trouble With Misinformation Control

  • Sam Delton
  • 16 Mar 2022
Telegram Has Trouble With Misinformation Control

Telegram is an instant messenger, the popularity of which has recently increased significantly. The number of subscribers grew last year after the outage of the Meta services’ work and continues to grow amid the ongoing Russian aggression against Ukraine. However, complex geopolitical events have revealed significant problems with controlling and moderating fake news on this platform.

The peculiarity of Telegram working is that any user can create a public account or group and promote unverified information in it. Such a one-way broadcast approach is fraught with the fact that thousands and millions of users access misinformation. At the same time, a host can turn off comments, completely blocking the opportunity to oppose anything to the published data.

Many services, e.g., WhatsApp, implemented instruments to control the misinformation spread after the pandemic started. Telegram has not taken similar action, and now, according to experts, regularly published fake news left without moderation can pose a mortal danger to users.

In response to allegations of a non-transparent moderation policy and insufficient verification of mass channels, company representatives announced they could not verify such a huge amount of information. According to them, each user should double-check the news and decide what to believe. However, in the conditions of hostilities, when communications are intermittent in Ukrainian cities, there is simply no opportunity to look for initial sources.

Information security experts, lawyers, and other professionals continue to demand that the management of Telegram implement stronger regulations. In the current situation, inaction can cause irreparable harm to civilians. Do you follow the news through this messenger? How do you determine which source is reliable?