MembersIsraelis and Arabs Make Illegal, but Wildly Contrary Uses of Telegram

Jihadists use it to coordinate terror attacks. Israelis use it for less nefarious means.

By Ryan Jones | | Topics: Telegram
Jihadists like Hamas appreciate Telegram's strong encryption. Photo: Hassan Jedi/Flash90

Instant messaging app Telegram made its initial splash by touting unbreakable end-to-end encryption, making it an early favorite of users concerned above all else with privacy. That’s also what made it popular with some of the world’s most notorious terrorist groups.

Telegram garnered some unwanted attention when it was revealed that ISIS, the Islamic State, was using the app to incite violence and coordinate attacks, confident that the messages could not be cracked by the authorities. A December 2016 survey conducted by the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) and cited widely by the mainstream media called Telegram the “app of choice” for ISIS and most other jihadist movements. “All the big groups are on it. We see ISIS talking about the benefits of Telegram and encouraging its followers to use it,” the survey’s author, Steven Stalinsky, told The Washington Post at the time.

But it’s not...

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