Telegram Retains Users After Russia's Ban Amid Internet Chaos

Facebook may be banned in Russia

Russian communications regulator Roskomnadzor has already blocked 18 Google (googl) and Amazon (amzn) sub-networks that Telegram used to avoid restrictions, the watchdog's head Alexander Zharov told the Izvestia daily on Wednesday.

The Telegram logo is seen on a screen of a smartphone in this picture illustration taken April 13, 2018.

"We have now informed both companies that a significant number of IP addresses located in the clouds of these two services have fallen under the block on the basis of the court ruling (to block Telegram)", Zharov was quoted as saying.

The ruling followed a monthslong standoff between Telegram and the Federal Security Service (FSB), which demanded access to its users' messages.

Facebook may be banned in Russia
Russia threatens to block Facebook amid crackdown on Telegram messaging service

Blocking the IP addresses has prevented Russian internet users from accessing Telegram and other services that route content through Google and Amazon servers. Some users also tried using VPN (virtual private network) services to get around potential government blockage of the service, but to no avail. He urged not to speculate and expressed hope that his words about the blocking "will be another compulsion for Facebook to comply with the Russian legislation". Amazon's European press office didn't immediately respond to an email seeking comment. Durov said last week the latest version would have "built-in" features that would be able to circumvent the ban. He also thanked Apple, Google, Amazon and Microsoft "for not taking part in political censorship". Telegram "remained available for the majority of Russia's residents" despite the blocking attempts, Durov said Wednesday on Twitter.

What's increasingly a battle of wills between Russian Federation and the internet prompted support for Durov from Edward Snowden, the former US intelligence contractor given asylum by the Kremlin.

This IBT reporter independently verified that Telegram was accessible in Russian Federation on Monday and Tuesday, with people using VPN in case the service did not work for them the usual way.

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