NIXsolutions: EU Scrutiny on Telegram’s Content Moderation

Telegram has become the focus of attention from European Union regulators due to the active use of its channels to spread misinformation and malicious content. The Prime Minister of Estonia has called for the same content moderation rules to be applied to the popular messenger as to platforms like Facebook and YouTube.


EU Digital Services Law and Telegram

Large online platforms with more than 45 million EU users are subject to stricter content moderation rules under the EU’s recently passed digital services law. Regulators are currently studying whether Telegram should qualify as a major online platform. Telegram representatives, however, insist that they have fewer than 45 million active users in the European Union. Despite these claims, some EU representatives question the accuracy of these data. Estonian Prime Minister Kaja Kallas has urged the European Commission to conduct an independent assessment of Telegram’s actual user base, arguing that the platform should be classified as a “very large online platform.”

According to Bloomberg, citing unnamed sources, the European Commission is actively discussing with Telegram the methodology for counting users and the criteria for determining whether the messaging service belongs to the category of large platforms. If it is determined that Telegram violates the rules of content moderation, the platform faces significant fines of up to 6% of its annual turnover, and sanctions are provided for repeat violators, including the potential blocking of access to the EU digital market, notes NIXsolutions.

Telegram’s Response and Future Developments

Telegram argues that its platform is ineffective for the mass spread of fake news, as it does not use recommendation algorithms and news feeds. Additionally, the company has begun developing a fact-checking tool, Fact Check, which will allow users to add tags to messages containing false information.

It remains to be seen in the near future whether Telegram’s user base is significantly smaller than the stated 45 million EU users. If this is not the case, Telegram’s founder Pavel Durov will have to radically tighten content moderation to avoid serious sanctions. We’ll keep you updated on the developments of this ongoing scrutiny.