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Encrypted Messaging App Telegram Shuts Down ISIS Channels, But Why Only Now?

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Encrypted messaging app Telegram has disclosed over Twitter that it shut down 78 channels associated with ISIS across 12 languages. A huge question, however, comes up with this Telegram's move: Why only now?

While these channels were banned by the Berlin-based startup, private communications among the members of the terrorist groups were not affected.

The secret-messaging app gained popularity among the members of the group as it touts highly encrypted communication. Flashpoint Global Partners' Laith Alkhouri is convinced that Telegram is a "hot thing among jihadists," as the data security company director of research claims, it is faster and more secure if compared to its rival WhatsApp.

A few weeks ago, prior to the terrorist attacks in Paris, the Middle East Media Research Institute reported that terrorist groups, which include ISIS, were using the app to share information such as "calls for targeted killing and lone-wolf attacks" and even "tutorials on manufacturing weapons and launching cyber attacks."

Telegram confessed it had been upset to find out that its public channels were used by the terrorist group in spreading their propaganda. It promises to bring in a much easier method for its users to report undesirable content in the next update of Telegram, which is slated to be rolled out within the week.

"Our mission is to provide a secure means of communication that works everywhere on the planet," saysTelegram in a statement. "In order to do that...we have to process legitimate requests to take down illegal public content (sticker sets, bots, and channels) within the app."

This means that private communications continue to be protected. App users can still confidently exchange messages, photos and files. The app likewise has a feature in which they can create group chats, permitting up to 200 members. Users can also choose "special secure chats."

Furthermore, it is worth mentioning that members of the terrorist group allegedly posted a message on the official ISIS channel, saying the Paris attacks could be the "first of the storm."

The decision of Telegram to block the channels and to take down illegal content comes hot on the heels because of reports from authorities that members of ISIS communicated with the attackers from Syria with the use of its encrypted communication.

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