Germany imposes $5 million fine on Telegram

BERLIN (HPD) — Germany has fined the messaging app Telegram 5.125 million euros ($5 million), accusing it of violating the country’s laws.

The Federal Office of Justice indicated on Monday that Telegram FZ-LLC has neither established a legitimate way to report illegal content nor appointed an entity in Germany to receive official communications. Both are conditions for operating as online platforms in Germany.

German authorities maintain that they have unsuccessfully tried to deliver legal documents to the Dubai-based platform, despite receiving support from authorities in the United Arab Emirates.

A German law firm said it represents Telegram, but that was not enough to avoid fines, the Federal Office of Justice said.

The German federal police recently warned that the app had become “a means of radicalization” used by some people to rant against politicians, scientists and doctors for their work in the fight against the pandemic.

“Messaging service and social media operators have a particular responsibility to act against hate speech and violence on their platforms,” Justice Minister Marco Buschmann said in a statement. “These legal obligations and these responsibilities cannot be avoided by trying to be unattainable.”

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