Telegram unblocks chatbots used by Ukraine’s security services

Telegram unblocks chatbots used by Ukraine’s security services
Telegram unblocks chatbots used by Ukraine’s security services

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Nevin Al Sukari - Sana'a - Ukraine said today the Telegram messaging app had restored access to a number of chatbots used by Ukraine’s security agencies to collect information about Russia’s war effort after the services were briefly suspended. — Reuters pic

KYIV, April 29 — Ukraine said today the Telegram messaging app had restored access to a number of chatbots used by Ukraine’s security agencies to collect information about Russia’s war effort after the services were briefly suspended.

The -based Telegram app founded by Russian-born Pavel Durov blocked a number of bots used by Ukraine to fight back against Russia’s full-scale invasion, Kyiv’s military spy agency GUR said in a statement shortly after midnight.

A Telegram bot is an automated feature that allows the app’s users to submit or ask for information. Some of the bots run by Ukraine’s government allow people to report the whereabouts of Russian military hardware and personnel inside Ukraine.

The GUR had said that “management of the Telegram platform unreasonably blocked a number of official bots that have opposed Russia’s military aggression against Ukraine, including the (GUR) bot”.

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By morning, Ukraine’s Centre for Strategic Communication said that three affected bots, used by Ukraine’s SBU security service, GUR and digital ministry for the war effort had been unblocked.

A Telegram spokesperson said bots were “temporarily disabled due to a false positive but have since been reinstated”, without giving further details.

Last week, the Telegram founder said his company had received an official request from Apple on certain changes pertaining to “general news and propaganda” channels accessible to Ukrainian users.

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He added at the time that the company would “still ban accounts and bots that collect coordinates to target strikes or post direct personal information with calls to violence”.

Telegram is widely used as a source of information in Ukraine and Russia, and been a go-to place for posting and accessing unfiltered information about the war.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy posts his daily video addresses on the app, while his armed forces use it to warn Ukrainians of incoming airstrikes and to document battlefield developments. — Reuters

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