The U.S. nonprofit organization Coalition for a Safer Web has filed a lawsuit against Apple with a demand to remove Telegram messenger from its app store, the Washington Post reports.
The Coalition for a Safer Web, an NGO, advocates removing content from social networks that its members say is extremist. Its head is former U.S. Ambassador to Morocco Mark Ginsberg. The group says Telegram was incapable of stopping violent discussion after the January 6 Capitol riots.
The coalition complained that Telegram was allegedly spreading neo-Nazi and racist messages and hate speech. The organization filed the lawsuit in a district court in Northern California and claims that by allowing this type of content to be published, Telegram is violating Apple’s app store rules.
“Telegram stands out as a distributor (of hate speech), even compared to Parler,” the newspaper quotes Ginsberg as saying.
That said, as the paper notes, the lawsuit’s prospects are unclear. Under the 1996 law “on decency in communication,” online platforms have greater “immunity” from liability for much of the content disseminated. Also, the decision to keep Telegram in the app store is protected by Apple’s right to free speech.
A similar lawsuit, according to Keith Altman, a lawyer for the NGO, is planned to be filed against Google.
Earlier, the British newspaper Telegraph reported that Telegram became the second most downloaded app in the United States after Donald Trump’s supporters rushed there. According to it, this came after Trump’s Twitter and Facebook accounts were blocked and the social network Parler, popular among the president’s supporters, was shut down. Pavel Durov, the founder of the messenger, later pointed out that the number of active Telegram users exceeded 500 million per month in the first week of January. New users, he said, came mostly from Asia, Europe and Latin America.
On January 6, U.S. President Donald Trump called on supporters at a rally near the White House to march to the Capitol to “help weak Republicans” challenge the election results, which were then being approved in Congress. A crowd of Trump supporters laid siege to the Capitol, stormed into the building and interrupted a joint session of Congress where Joe Biden’s presidential victory was being confirmed. Five people were killed.