Telegram, a social media platform that has garnered considerable attention in the US since the start of the Israel-Hamas war, has begun restricting access to channels operated by Hamas and Hamas supporters, according to a new report from CNN. . Many channels posting content from inside Gaza are now inaccessible.
According to CNN, I was able to confirm that the channel called hamas_com is no longer accessible to iPhone users, although it appears that some Android users may still have access to various Hamas-associated channels. Other channels with pro-Palestinian content were not affected and it is unclear how many channels were banned.
Telegram is a platform based in Russia and has become popular among extremist groups in recent years, including far-right figures like Nick Fuentes and Laura Loomer in the US. So-called “active clubs,” which are basically neo-Nazi fight clubs, also have a heavy presence on Telegram, although there is also a lot of benign social media activity on the platform.
It should be noted that pro-Israel accounts also have a presence on Telegram, including the Israel Defense Forces and Southern First Responders, who have posted some of the horrifying videos that emerged after Hamas terrorists attacked Israel on October 7. 1,400 people killed.
Social media platforms have become a battleground for warring factions during the conflict, with both official channels and unofficial observers posting their opinions on sites like Facebook, Telegram and Xx, formerly known as Twitter. But those same platforms are struggling to be filled with large amounts of misinformation and disinformation. X has been particularly bad during this battle, as owner Elon Musk spent the last year setting up financial incentives that help spread bad information.
Musk’s changes have boosted accounts that pay $8 a month for “verification,” despite the fact that X no longer verifies anyone’s identity on the site. And the billionaire’s decision to pay creators for engagement has led to a flood of extremely disturbing videos being published on the site. Personally, I can attest to the fact that I have seen a large number of videos depicting people being stabbed and shot on my “For You” page, which I do not follow. That’s a clear step forward to form engagement by those accounts.
As CNN notes, extremist content often jumps from social media platform to social media platform, but this new war has seen Telegram become the central hub of gruesome photos and videos from inside Gaza and Israel. That content then gets republished on places like X, where it often gets larger audiences in the US because Telegram is still a niche product in the US.
Telegram did not immediately respond to questions sent Thursday evening. If I get a response I will update this post.