Telegram fined more than €5 million for failing to comply with German law

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What you need to know

  • Popular messaging app Telegram reportedly gets fined €5.125 million by Germany.
  • The app apparently doesn't have a "lawful" way to report illegal content on the platform.
  • Looks like Telegram is yet to file an appeal on the fine.

Messaging service Telegram is under scrutiny by German officials, who have earlier accused the app of being a "medium for radicalization." And now, according to a report from Associated Press (AP), the proprietors of the well-known messaging service were fined €5.125 million for violating German law.

This news comes after Telegram was reportedly found giving user data to German authorities over concerns of suspected terrorist activity and child abuse.

According to another AP report in January, a German security official created a team to investigate users suspected of using Telegram, one of the most popular messaging apps, to "commit crimes."

The Federal Criminal Police Office of Germany has also warned of the app's use to attack politicians, researchers, and medical professionals for their contributions to the fight against the coronavirus pandemic.

"The coronavirus pandemic in particular has contributed to people becoming radicalized on Telegram, threatening others and even publishing calls to murder," the agency's chief, Holger Muench, said in a statement, AP reports.

Telegram has become one of the prominent messaging apps for Android device users since it works across all devices and platforms. Every messaging app is bound to have regulations and a lawful way to report illegal content on its platforms in Germany.

The Federal Office of Justice, however, has stated that the platform hadn't established a lawful way to report illegal content on the platform, nor did it have an official address for communication. Both seem to be mandatory under German laws for such online messaging platforms.

Currently, Telegram says on its site's FAQ that all chats are private among platform members. Users will still be able to report sticker sets, channels, and bots if they find it illegal. Users can further use the "report" option in their respective apps across platforms to report shady channels, or people, for that matter.

"The operators of messaging services and social networks bear a particular responsibility for acting against incitement to hatred and violence on their platforms," Justice Minister Marco Buschmann said in a statement. "These legal requirements and this responsibility can't be avoided by trying to be unreachable."

While that's a massive fine to Telegram, the AP report suggests they can still appeal the fine. Android Central has reached out to Telegram for a comment and will update this article when we hear back.

Vishnu Sarangapurkar
News Writer

Vishnu works as a freelance News Writer for Android Central. For the past four years, he's been writing about consumer technology, primarily involving smartphones, laptops, and every other gizmo connected to the Internet. When he is away from keyboard, you can see him going on a long drive or chilling on a couch binge-watching some crime series.