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Iraqi militias continue to use Telegram despite block

Iraq’s state media channel switched to the Israeli-founded Viber in response to the ban. Telegram is popular with protesters and militias alike in Iraq.
In this photo illustration, the messaging service Telegram app is seen on a mobile phone on Jan. 11, 2021.

Iraqi militias continued to use Telegram on Monday despite the government’s block on the messaging service that came into effect on Sunday.

Background: Telegram is a Russian-owned mobile and desktop application that allows users to send encrypted messages to one another. The app also has channels to which users can subscribe to follow the news. Telegram is quite popular in Iraq and is used by protesters, militias and others to share news.

What happened: Iraq’s Ministry of Communications said in a statement on Sunday that it blocked the use of Telegram, accusing the app of leaking personal data of Iraqi citizens and state entities. The ministry added that Telegram did not respond to requests on the matter, according to a statement.

Telegram did not immediately respond to Al-Monitor’s request for comment.

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