As we’ve previously reported, the whole “Telegram will allow free speech, tee-hee-hee” movement has been crushed.
I hate to say I told you so.
It was obvious that there was zero chance that Telegram, which is now very popular as a competitor to WhatsApp, would face a ban from Google and Apple in order to defend internet racists.
Even Russian channels are now receiving “warnings” about their “banned content.”
The fact that apps have to be approved by Apple/Google is a huge bottleneck on alternative free speech platforms, given that most people today use the internet through their phone.
A notorious group of online cyber-warriors which has pressured Russian businesses over what it claims are manifestations of multiculturalism and pro-LGBT+ sentiments could soon see its channels taken down, its founder has said.
In a statement published online and seen by local media on Tuesday, Vladislav Pozdnyakov, the founder of Male State, said that the Telegram messaging service had threatened to kick its account off the platform. After complaints from Apple and Google, which host Telegram in their app stores, messages from the company show that Pozdnyakov has been warned that he is posting “prohibited content” that discriminates against people “on the basis of their sexual orientation.”
The founder of Male State said that the group would have to switch to a backup channel where “we will likely be unable to post things that discriminate against people to such an extent.”
That is the winner of this week’s “funniest Russian translation” prize!
Pozdnyakov’s supporters have directed a series of campaigns against businesses over their stances on women, ethnic minorities, and LGBT+ people. In August, the online group reportedly told its followers to hit out at a popular Russian sushi chain it said was guilty of “promoting multiculturalism.” The restaurant group, Tanuki, had published adverts featuring a black man surrounded by white women, as well as rolling out a rainbow delivery box reminiscent of the LGBT+ Pride flag.
Moscow bomb squads were called to the chain’s branches after threats were received in the wake of the row. Konstantin Zimen, the group’s co-founder, said that “all this is very strange, considering that we did not even try to ‘promote the agenda’, but simply made very standard visuals for social networks.”
That was hardcore for Russia.
I think even in America, that would have gotten a few complaints.
But here’s the thing.
Prosecutors in the city of Nizhny Novgorod have since filed a lawsuit with a regional court, requesting that Male State be labelled an ‘extremist’ group and effectively banned. Pozdnyakov has claimed that “dirty cops and prosecutors” are working together with “LGBT propagandists,” suggesting that Tanuki is paying them.
The Gay and Coal-Burner Sushi Alliance has a lot of power in Nizhny Novgorod, apparently.
Anyway – this is a big problem in Russia. In general, the federal government under Vladimir Putin is conservative, but there is no Bill of Rights, so dirty regional prosecutors can be bought off by sushi companies and charge you with crimes against sushi advertisements.
The sushi company violated Russia’s anti-gay laws, and yet it is the people who complained about it that are being prosecuted.