Google pressed to dump Telegram


A former U.S. ambassador wants Google to remove Telegram from its playstore like it did to Parler.

Marc Ginsberg sued the Alphabet Inc. unit on Monday, asking a California court to require it to remove the Telegram Messenger app from the Google Play Store on the grounds of facilitating violence, extremism and anti-Semitism.

Ginsberg, who was Bill Clinton’s ambassador to Morocco, claim that Telegram, especially in the wake of George Floyd’s killing and the inauguration of Joe Biden as president, has been used to threaten, encourage and coordinate racist violence.

He pointed out that, after the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol, Google suspended Parler from its app store because a number of its right-wing users expressed support for the siege and further violence.

Pavel Durov, Telegram’s founder, said last week that the company’s moderators had removed hundreds of posts in the wake of the Capitol riot and that calls for violence wouldn’t be tolerated.

Google didn’t respond to an emailed request for comment. Inc. cited its own concerns about violent content on Parler in pulling the plug on the platform’s web-hosting service. The actions taken against Parler, as well the banning of former President Donald Trump and others from Twitter Inc. and Facebook Inc. have spurred a wide-ranging debate over the tech industry’s control and responsibilities over speech.

The suit also accuses Telegram of serving as a platform for the sale of illegal and controlled substances, including LSD and cocaine.

Ginsberg, says in the lawsuit that he was the target of two assassination attempts due to his religious beliefs.

His Coalition for a Safer Web, also listed as a plaintiff in the lawsuit, says it pushes social media platforms to end their tolerance of anti-Semitism and enabling of extremist groups.