A hot potato: A former US ambassador to Morocco is suing Apple and Google parent Alphabet, demanding the tech giants give Telegram the Parler treatment by banning the messaging service’s app from their stores.
In his suit, Marc Ginsberg, who was once Bill Clinton’s ambassador to Morocco, requests that Telegram be removed from the Google Play Store and App Store because it encourages and co-ordinates violence, extremism, racism, and anti-Semitism, reports Bloomberg.
“Telegram is being used to intimidate, threaten and coerce members of the public,” says Ginsberg’s complaint against Apple. The Coalition for a Safer Web is a co-plaintiff in the lawsuits.
“Telegram continues to enable extremist incitement in its platform, promoting political violence as extremist groups and individuals migrate to Telegram following Apple’s suspension of Parler,” the complaint alleges.
Ginsberg claims that Telegram remaining on the app stores has resulted in economic loss and emotional distress for himself and others like him.
The suit highlights the companies’ decision to ban Parler from their stores in the wake of the Capitol riots on January 6. The ‘free speech’ social network app was banned by Apple, Google, Amazon, and others for facilitating violence.
“Google has not taken any action against Telegram comparable to the action it has taken against Parler to compel Telegram to improve its content moderation policies,” reads Ginsberg’s complaint against Google.
Following the riots, Telegram founder Pavel Durov said that its moderators had removed hundreds of posts, adding that any incitements to violence would not be tolerated.
The suits also accuse Telegram of being used as a platform to sell drugs, including cocaine. Moreover, some users allegedly urged followers of the “Parler refugees” channel to launch surprise attacks nationwide in lieu of a second protest in Washington.