Related to January 6, 2021, Capitol Hill attack, Apple sued by Coalition of Safer Web and Ambassador Marc Ginsberg for not removing Telegram. The plaintiff has filed a lawsuit at the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California claiming that the Cupertino tech giant is guilty of allowing the social media app, Telegram, on the App Store that is being used to intimidate the public to protect the perpetrators.
Recently, Apple removed a far-right social media platform, Parler app after receiving numerous complaints of violent and hate speech and evidence of planning and organizing the Capitol Hill attack. The company warned the developer to regulate user-generated content or face a permanent ban from the App Store. When the developer refused to comply with Apple’s safety policy rules, the app was removed. Now the Coalition of Safer Web is suing Apple for not holding Telegram accountable for the same violation of its users’ safety policy.
Apple sued by Coalition of Safer Web for not removing Telegram over hate and violent content
Telegram is an instant messaging app with over 400 million active users. The service does run ads and does not sell users to data to third parties. In addition to other features, Telegram offers a Secret Chat feature with automatically self-destructed messages to keep users’ conversations extremely private with end-to-end encryption. However, AppleInsider reports Telegram is not a safe platform because of racist and violent groups on it. It states:
Telegram is being used as a “communications channel for the Russian government and affiliated Neo-Nazi and white nationalist groups, sowing misinformation and racial division in the United States and in Europe.”
Ginsberg also wrote to Apple CEO Tim Cook on behalf of the CSW in July, asking for Telegram to be temporarily de-platformed, due to its role in “inciting extremist violence.”
There is also the accusation that “anti-black and anti-Semitic groups have openly utilized Telegram with little or no content moderation by Telegram’s management.” Despite the CSW’s warnings and media reports about the app, Apple “has not taken any action against Telegram comparable to the action it has taken against Parler to compel Telegram to improve its content moderation policies.”
The plaintiff maintains that Apple has knowledge of the public safety issue and claims that “Telegram is being used to coordinate and incite extreme violence before the inauguration of President-Elect Joe Biden. Some users have called on followers to abandon plans for a second protest in Washington in favor of surprise attacks nationwide.”
In 2020, App Store was in news over its 30% commission rate and review policies by developers and regulating authorities. Epic vs. Apple sue case has turned into a trial by jury set to commence in July this year and it seems like iPhone maker will be facing another plaintiff in the court.