Indonesia’s IT Ministry investigating complaint that Telegram messaging app contains ‘pornographic’ stickers

Indonesia’s IT Minister, Rudiantara, during a lunch meeting with Telegram CEO Pavel Durov in Jakarta. Photo: Twitter
Indonesia’s IT Minister, Rudiantara, during a lunch meeting with Telegram CEO Pavel Durov in Jakarta. Photo: Twitter

Not long after the Indonesian government banned (and then quickly unbanned) popular messaging app Telegram for containing discussions related to terrorism and radicalism, the chatting service could once again find itself in the middle of another scandal in the country.

As widely reported in the media today, Indonesia’s IT Ministry (Kominfo) has received complaints that Telegram contained stickers (kind of like emojis, but more expressive in how they convey information, according to the kids) that were deemed to be “pornographic”.

“The (complaints) are being processed by Kominfo’s Content Complaint Team. Our team is coordinating with Telegram,” said Kominfo spokesman Noor Iza, as quoted by Viva today.

According to Viva, the pornographic stickers can be downloaded for the app via a website called telegramhub.net. In it, there are several adult-themed stickers available for download, such as collections called “sex positions”, “naughty nun” and “wood nymph”.

Neither Kominfo nor Telegram has revealed if the stickers website is officially part of the app or is a third party service. However, Telegram is known for allowing independent sticker artists to have their work downloaded for use in the app.

After Indonesia banned Telegram earlier this year, Kominfo agreed to lift the ban provided that the app introduced a self-censor system to prevent illegal content from being shared in Indonesia. The app is also required to act on complaints about negative content no longer than 12 hours after it was reported.

Telegram is a free Russian-designed messaging app that lets people exchange messages, photos and videos in groups of 10,000. It has attracted about 100 million users since its launch in 2013.

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