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Belgium to police Telegram under new EU tech law

by editor

Social media app Telegram will be overseen by Belgian authorities as it seeks to comply with new rules under the European Union’s law on policing content on platforms.

The Dubai-based platform has selected a Brussels-based company as its legal representative in the EU, a spokesperson for the Belgian telecoms authority BIPT told POLITICO. The news was first reported by local paper De Standaard.

Platforms that operate in Europe are required to appoint a local representative under the bloc’s new content moderation rulebook, the Digital Services Act (DSA).

Telegram, founded by Russian-born Pavel Durov, gained in popularity for its privacy-friendly features but in recent years also became a hotbed for conspiracy theorists, cybercriminal groups and extremists promoting hate speech. The platform claims to have over 800 million monthly active users globally.

While the world’s largest technology companies are supervised by the European Commission and face the strictest rules under the DSA, smaller platforms are supervised by national regulators in the country where they have their legal representation.

Telegram chose a Brussels-based firm called the European Digital Services Representative (EDSR) to represent it.

It will be overseen by Belgium’s telecom authority BIPT as the so-called Digital Services Coordinator. The authority “will be fully competent only in a couple of weeks” when the country publishes its law implementing the regime, said BIPT spokesperson Jimmy Smedts.

Telegram did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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