Telegram allegedly used for identifying Myanmar Junta opponents, while CSOs allege the company ignores requests to stop messaging app abuse
In August 2023, The Irrawaddy, an outlet media group formed by Myanmar journalists living in exile, published a report revealing that 16 people were detained in Mandalay by Military Junta troops after their photos and addresses were shared through pro-Myanmar-junta Telegram channels.
According to the report, the messaging app is allegedly used to identify and disseminate information about people in Myanmar who criticize the Myanmar Junta. The report also includes a comment from the civil society organization Access Now, alleging that Telegram has ignored requests from civil society organizations to stop the abuse of the company platform in Myanmar.
It's worth noting that in February 2023, Access Now released a statement alleging that private actors were helping the Myanmar military junta to build an attack and surveillance infrastructure. The statement highlighted ongoing doxxing on Telegram, where personal information and sexual content were shared on channels with thousands of followers, facilitating vigilante violence, mass shaming, and harassment, especially against women. Access Now called on the social media platform to invest in addressing these harms and engage with civil society to implement rights-based safeguards. The Business & Human Rights Resource Centre invited Telegram to respond to those allegations but the company did not.
In a new attempt, The Business & Human Rights Resource Centre invited Telegram to respond to allegations regarding the misuse of its messaging app to identify and disseminate information about people in Myanmar who criticize the Myanmar Junta and that the company has ignored requests from civil society organizations to stop the abuse of its messaging app. The company did not respond.