By Stephen Wright
JAKARTA, Indonesia — The encrypted messaging app Telegram is forming a team of moderators who are familiar with Indonesian culture and language so it can remove "terrorist-related content" faster, its co-founder said Sunday, after Indonesia limited access to the app and threatened a total ban.
Pavel Durov, who with his brother Nikolai founded the app in 2013, said in a message to his 40,000 followers on Telegram that he'd been unaware of a failure to quickly respond to an Indonesian government request to block a number of offending channels — chat groups on the app — but was now rectifying the situation.
The Ministry of Communications and Information Technology on Friday said it was preparing for the total closure of Telegram in Indonesia, where it has several million users, if it didn't develop procedures to block unlawful content. As a partial measure, it asked internet companies in the world's most populous Muslim nation to block access to 11 addresses offering the web version of Telegram.
Samuel Pangerapan, the director general of informatics applications at the ministry, said the app is used to recruit Indonesians into militant groups and to spread hate and methods for carrying out attacks including bomb making.
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