Статья опубликована в рамках: Научного журнала «Студенческий» № 30(200)
Рубрика журнала: Технические науки
TELEGRAM AS A TOOL OF POLITICAL STRUGGLE
Since its creation, Telegram has been a very user-friendly application. The people who used it could not be afraid for their safety. But as the messenger gained popularity, it inevitably found itself in the field of view of political forces, and politicians in the future were able to subdue this uncontrolled space.
Keywords: telegram, social network, politics, Durov, technology.
Telegram is a social network or instant messaging service that works via the Internet. Also, Telegram is equally optimized for mobile and stationary devices, unlike the new TikTok service. An interesting feature of the social network is the ability to create secret chats in which the transmission of information is encrypted in a special way - it bypasses intermediary servers and is transmitted directly from the sender to the recipient.
The first version of the application was released by the Durov brothers: Pavel and Nikolai, in August 2013. But this time the creators of VKontakte decided not to limit themselves only to the Russian market, but also to try their hand at the international arena .
In 2015, Telegram was on a wave of popularity as the developers introduced an anonymous chat system. Each user could anonymously send messages to an unlimited circle of people. This led to the rise of political and news channels, which were essentially new/alternative media.
Competing companies did not have such a function, so Telegram stood out from their background .
At the time of 2020, Telegram was the third most common messenger after WhatsApp and Viber. The service was actively used by 400 million people around the world, of which 7.5% were citizens of Russia .
The impetus for blocking was the adoption of Yarovaya laws. The so-called «Yarovaya package» is two laws that set new requirements for Internet projects and operators to increase the effectiveness of anti-terrorist activities . Some items in the «package» were reflected in the activities of instant messengers on the territory of the Russian Federation. From July 20, 2016, all messengers operating in the Russian Federation had to be marked as such on behalf of Federal Service for Supervision in the Sphere of Telecom, Information Technologies and Mass Communications and identify and store users' personal data, and messengers were obliged to transfer keys to decrypt information to the FSS.
Even from the moment the Yarovaya package came into force, Pavel Durov, the creator of the network, refused to obey the new rules. The position was fundamental - Telegram was not going to share keys (one might say - personal data of users and their correspondence) with third parties, even if this third party is the state .
Events developed rapidly. Already on June 23, 2017, the head of Federal Service for Supervision in the Sphere of Telecom, Information Technologies and Mass Communications called on Pavel Durov to share data about the messenger to enter it into the register . This was a mandatory item, if Telegram intends to continue working in the Russian Federation, otherwise, if the management of the messenger does not transfer the necessary data within a certain time, Telegram will be blocked. Alexander Zharov said he did not want to block the messenger. After 5 days, an entry appeared in the registry about entering the data of the Telegram company.
In early April 2017, a terrorist attack took place in the St. Petersburg metro, killing 15 people . After this event, the FSS notified Pavel Durov that they were waiting for the immediate handover of the keys.
On October 16, Telegram was fined 800 thousand rubles. All subsequent appeals by the company were denied. The judge also rejected a collective appeal drawn up by 36 users .
The management of the messenger tried to apply to the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation. Lawyers who spoke on the side of Telegram believed that a corresponding court decision was needed to transfer keys that would allow law enforcement agencies to read user correspondence, but the Supreme Court rejected the lawsuit and the subsequent appeal . Telegram had to provide the keys within 15 days, as it violated the Federal Law «On Information ...».
After these events, Telegram's lawyer told law enforcement agencies that it was impossible to fulfill their request, since correspondence between users in secret chats is not carried out on the company's servers. At the suit of Federal Service for Supervision in the Sphere of Telecom, Information Technologies and Mass Communications, the Tagansky court instructed to block the messenger, and also rejected the subsequent appeal from Telegram .
In April 2016, Telegram management attempted to bypass the block by constantly changing addresses. Federal Service for Supervision in the Sphere of Telecom, Information Technologies and Mass Communications also decided to block the servers of Amazon, Google, and Microsoft, since these companies provide the subnets through which the messenger worked. Subsequently, network outages began in Russia - Amazon and Google performed other functions in addition to ensuring the operation of the messenger .
Despite these events, Telegram continued to work successfully for users in Russia. The official position of the authorities was as follows - the messenger in Russia is blocked, but not banned .
In April 2020, the deputies developed a project that planned to unblock Telegram. This was argued by the fact that government agencies use Telegram to inform the public about the coronavirus epidemic .
The Russian authorities were also actively interested in what was happening directly inside the hidden chats in Telegram, and how they could be used to advantage. Special attention was drawn to the anonymous channel «Nezygar» , whose authors were unsuccessfully tried to find.
The Russian «top» in 2016 deliberately «leaked» information to journalists, after which they monitored whether this information would appear in Telegram channels. Thus, the officials wanted to find out the authors of political anonymous channels.
The presidential administration was preparing for the 2018 presidential election, so they wanted to be able to control the mood on the Internet. Russian special agencies noticed a growing tendency to read anonymous news and political channels (such channels very quickly “overgrown” with an audience - in 2016, the Nezygar channel already had an audience of more than 100,000 people), but due to lack of experience they did not take specific actions.
Also, the pro-active audience of the Kremlin at the same time was 200 thousand people (meaning people who create channels, leave comments, etc.). Pro-Kremlin channels were read, in their own words, by many journalists and officials.
The popularity of anonymous chats was caused by too serious regulation of traditional media, and officials themselves were interested in insider information that would help them in their struggle for power within the Kremlin.
As it turned out later, ordinary swindlers were behind the anonymous channels. The method of work was simple: first, wait until the night when a new issue appears on the website of most federal newspapers, and then post this information in your Telegram channel under the guise of “exclusive”, second, take analytics from open sources, passing it off as your own. Using the Nezygar channel as an example, the authors often took fragments of the analytics of the political scientist Tatyana Stanova and passed them off as their own.
To achieve the goal, they used «contractors» - channels that would be ready to place and distribute the necessary information.
The “contractors” system was also chosen because creating your own channels from scratch, spending money on advertising, is much more expensive both in time and in finance. Such channels include «338» , «Mediatechnologist», «Antelope» and some others. Their task is simple - to make “reposts” of posts, thereby visually increasing activity.
The number of such channels is constantly growing. In 2016, one can trace the frequency of the appearance of defamatory materials about Alexei Navalny - according to some analysts, this looks like a specific political order. The goal is to take Navalny out of the game so that his exclusion from the elections looks legitimate.
After the elections in 2018, the situation changed: the channels began to «fight» with each other. They are distributed among the spheres of influence in the Kremlin, and now Telegram is practically not used for propaganda. The attention of «contractors» is focused on the next most popular instant messengers - WhatsApp and Viber.
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