BERLIN (AP) — A top German security official said Wednesday that his agency has created a task force to investigate individuals suspected of using Telegram to commit crimes, amid growing concerns that the messaging app is becoming a “medium for radicalization.”
Germany’s Federal Criminal Police Office warned that the app is being used to target politicians, scientists and doctors for their role in tackling 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.
He said the task force would seek Telegram’s cooperation but also take measures if it doesn’t.
The German government has tried for years, with little success, to get Telegram to abide by the country’s rules on taking down illegal content.
The company behind the app, which claims to have hundreds of millions of users worldwide, is based in the United Arab Emirates.
Last month, German police carried out raids in Saxony after media reports that a group of people on Telegram had discussed plans to kill the state’s governor, Michael Kretschmer, and other members of the state government. The group’s members shared a rejection of vaccinations, the state and the government’s coronavirus policies.