Germany seeks to fine operators of Telegram messenger app

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By Euronews  with AP
FILE   -  Copyright  AP Photo/Andy Wong

German authorities have launched proceedings against the Telegram messenger app, a Justice Ministry spokeswoman has confirmed.

The action could see the app's operators fined for failing to abide by laws that require social media sites to police their users' actions.

German media had reported that Telegram had reached a threshold where it would now be treated like Facebook, Twitter, and TikTok when it comes to cooperating with authorities.

On Monday, the country's justice ministry stated that they had written to Telegram's operators in the United Arab Emirates over its failure to provide a channel for raising complaints and a contact person in Germany.

"The company now has the opportunity to respond," the spokeswoman, Rabea Boennighausen, told reporters in Berlin.

If they fail to comply with the requirements, Telegram could reportedly face fines of up to €5.5 million. Euronews has contacted Telegram for a statement in response.

The app was founded by Russian brothers Nikolai and Pavel Durov and has grown in popularity in Germany in recent years, including among right-wing groups and those opposed to the government's response to the coronavirus pandemic.