KUALA LUMPUR, June 19 — Social media platform Telegram has finally agreed to work with local authorities after a meeting with the police and the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) today, said Communications and Digital Minister Fahmi Fadzil.
In a statement from his ministry, Fahmi said the one-hour meeting with representatives from Telegram was attended by Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Acryl Sani Abdullah Sani, the federal police’s Criminal Investigations Department director Datuk Ayob Khan Mydin Pitchay and senior police officials at Bukit Aman.
“I told them that there are too many cases of scam investments, paedophilia, pornography, and online crime on Telegram. We were firm in our stance that all social media platforms adhere to Malaysian law.
“Telegram said it was committed to working closely with the police and MCMC in order to curb all forms of illegal activities on its platform,” he said.
Fahmi said Telegram scams have cost Malaysians in the region of RM45 million from January 2020 until May this year and the government is working to ensure that the platform is safe for users.
Previously, Fahmi said the ministry had received many complaints regarding the content and misuse of the application, including the sale of pornographic materials and drugs, as well as investment scams, but there had been no action from Telegram so far.
He asked the MCMC to examine the appropriate measures that should be taken to tackle the inappropriate content and scams. The MCMC, however, has limited powers to act on platforms hosted overseas as current government policies are ineffective.
Telegram in response to Fahmi said it refused to cooperate with his ministry as the platform did not want to participate in “any form of political censorship”.
The platform said that it has been actively moderating harmful content on its platform including the sale of illegal substances and public pornography.
It added that Telegram moderators have proactively monitored public parts of the app as well as accepted user reports through the app or by email at [email protected] to remove content that violates its terms of service.