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Fake Telegram account of President Zelensky urged armed forces of Ukraine to surrender

Fake Telegram account of President Zelensky urged armed forces of Ukraine to surrender

The fake account of Zelensky on Telegram garnered over 20,000 followers before the account was taken down.

Courtesy: Reuters Courtesy: Reuters
Story highlights
  • A fake telegram account posing Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky urged his armed forces to surrender days after Russia invaded Ukraine.
  • Soon after the message went viral, Zelenksy had to come forward and deny the claims on his official Telegram channel.
  • Telegram CEO Pavel Durov, who hails from Russia, said that he defended the private data of Ukrainians from the Russian government nine years ago.

A fake telegram account posing Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky urged his armed forces to surrender days after Russia invaded Ukraine. So far, only WhatsApp has been accused of being the carrier of fake news, but now it looks like Telegram is also being used to spread fake news. Soon after the message went viral, Zelenksy had to come forward and deny the claims on his official Telegram channel.

The fake account of Zelensky on Telegram garnered over 20,000 followers before the account was taken down. Telegram CEO Pavel Durov, who hails from Russia, said that he defended the private data of Ukrainians from the Russian government nine years ago. In the process, he said that he lost his company and my home. "I would do it again without hesitation," Durov said. Telegram was banned in Russia after Durov refused to give access to users data to the Russian government. However, the ban was lifted in 2020.

Telegram is currently the most popular messaging app in Ukraine. The app has over 550 million monthly users globally in the country. The Telegram channel is found to be the most useful feature by the people of Ukraine because it lets users send messages to groups of up to 200,000 members. WhatsApp on the other hand allows only 256 members. However, Telegram's Channel misled the armed forces of the country.

Oleksandra Tsekhanovska, head of the Hybrid Warfare Analytical Group at the Kyiv-based Ukraine Crisis Media Center, has told AFP that accountability has always been an issue for Telegram. She said, "For Telegram, accountability has always been a problem, which is why it was so popular, even before the full-scale war with far-right extremists and terrorists from all over the world. Someone posing as a Ukrainian citizen just joins the chat and starts spreading misinformation, or gathers data, like the location of shelters." She also highlighted how messages urging Ukrainian citizens to turn off their mobile phones are being circulated through the Telegram channel.

What is Telegram Channel?

Telegram Channel, as the name suggests, is a tool to broadcast messages to a large number of people. The channels offer a unique opportunity to reach people directly, sending a notification to their phones with each post. The Telegram Channels can have unlimited subscribers. However, only the admin can post. This is different from Telegram groups, which allow every member to post or send messages like WhatsApp groups.

Published on: Mar 10, 2022, 10:48 AM IST
Posted by: BT Siteadmin, Mar 10, 2022, 10:46 AM IST