European Union restricts access to Russian media

The Russian president personally and “other entities hostile to the European Union” could use the lack of regulation on Telegram to spread misleading information to EU member states from Eastern Europe, Bloomberg news agency reported, citing a statement by European Commission Vice President Vera Jourova.

“Telegram is a problem,” Jourova said. She said the service is “particularly active in eastern member states where we have a Russian-speaking minority.”

As Telegram’s audience in the EU is estimated at 42 million monthly users (and the DSA’s regulatory threshold is 45 million). “We are now clarifying whether this figure is correct, and if we find that it exceeds 42 million, we will have to look deeply into the way Telegram works,” the vice-president said.

In an emailed response, Telegram spokesman Remy Vaughn said the company was complying with EU sanctions by blocking access to channels such as RT, Sputnik and NewsFront.

Telegram does not use algorithms to promote sensationalised content to users, who only receive information they explicitly choose to subscribe to, Vaughn said.

The Digital Services Act came into force earlier this year and allows the EU to fine major platforms up to 6 per cent of global annual sales if it finds violations, or ban repeat offenders from entering the EU.