Posts Tagged ‘Twitter’

Donald Trump ends his brief flirtation with TPP — Flip-flop on Twitter

April 18, 2018

US president’s second U-turn on Pacific trade adds to pressure on Japan’s Shinzo Abe

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Flip-flop: Shinzo Abe (left) will not be happy with Donald Trump’s rejection onTwitter of the Japanese prime minister’s invitation to the US to rejoin the TPP. The two leaders met with their wives in Florida on Tuesday © Reuters

Shawn Donnan in Washington

Donald Trump brought a quick end to his latest flirtation with rejoining the Trans-Pacific Partnership, turning to Twitter late on Tuesday after a dinner with Japan’s Shinzo Abe to reject Tokyo’s invitation for him to rejoin.

“While Japan and South Korea would like us to go back into TPP, I don’t like the deal for the United States,” he tweeted. “Too many contingencies and no way to get out if it doesn’t work. Bilateral deals are far more efficient, profitable and better for OUR workers. Look how bad WTO is to U.S.”

The president’s social media announcement came at the end of the first day of a two-day summit with Mr Abe at Mr Trump’s Mar-a-Lago private club in Florida. Earlier, the two leaders exchanged pleasantries during an appearance in front of reporters. They are expected to play golf on Wednesday and continue talks on issues including North Korea and trade.

Mr Trump pulled the US out of the TPP on his first full working day in office last January after campaigning against it during his 2016 run to the presidency.

But he last week raised the possibility of rejoining for the second time this year during a meeting with politicians from agricultural states that have been pushing him to avoid starting a trade war with China and to consider re-entering the TPP. Earlier this year he also raised the idea of joining the TPP during a speech at the World Economic Forum in Davos.

Mr Trump has already given Mr Abe an important victory at the summit by saying he will raise the fate of Japanese citizens abducted by Pyongyang. But Mr Trump’s decision to rule out the TPP, ahead of the second day of talks on trade, is bad news for the Japanese prime minister.

Japan is reluctant to enter bilateral trade talks, suspecting Washington will demand greater concessions than Tokyo gave in the TPP, with little on offer in return. Mr Abe, who prizes his relationship with the president, had hoped to channel Mr Trump’s demands on trade into talks about a return to the TPP. A blunt demand to start bilateral talks instead would place him in a difficult position.

The manoeuvres on the TPP have come as Mr Trump is embroiled in an increasingly tense trade stand-off with China, which was never included in the TPP. US officials have been working on a $100bn list of further tariffs designed to increase the pressure on Beijing. The US and China have each already announced $50bn lists for imports they would target for tariffs.

The 11 remaining members of the TPP led by Japan earlier this year signed the deal into existence. They suspended intellectual property and other contentious provisions sought by the Obama administration when it negotiated the pact when they did so. They have also, however, signalled that they would be open to the US rejoining.

But several TPP members, including Japan, have also indicated in recent days that they would not be open to a major renegotiation of the pact, something the US president had said he would seek.

Why Mr Trump mentioned South Korea is unclear. It is not a member of the TPP, though it has long been seen as a likely candidate to join what many in Washington still see as an important strategic bloc that the Obama administration had viewed as an economic bulwark against a rising China.

Mr Trump has argued since taking office that the US is better served by bilateral trade agreements. But he has yet to launch any such negotiations and Japan is among the countries that have so far resisted his administration’s approaches.

Japan also was pointedly not included in a list of US allies excluded from steel and aluminium tariffs that Mr Trump imposed last month even though the president said he was open to doing so for countries like Japan with which the US has security agreements.

Additional reporting by Robin Harding in Tokyo



Trump Slams TPP Again Ahead of Trade Talks With Japan’s Abe

April 18, 2018

President Donald Trump again soured on the 11-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership ahead of planned trade talks on Wednesday with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

 Image result for Conex boxes, photos, shipping, port

“While Japan and South Korea would like us to go back into TPP, I don’t like the deal for the United States,” Trump wrote. “Too many contingencies and no way to get out if it doesn’t work. Bilateral deals are far more efficient, profitable and better for OUR workers. Look how bad WTO is to U.S.,” he said referring to the World Trade Organization.

Last week, Trump directed U.S. officials to explore returning to the TPP. While his comments were welcomed by members of the trade bloc, ministers from countries including Japan, Australia and Malaysia said they opposed renegotiation of the deal to accommodate the U.S. should it decide to rejoin at a later date.

Abe has been a strong proponent of the TPP. Before leaving for the talks in Florida, he told reporters in Tokyo that Japan and the U.S. should “take the lead on growing the economy of the Indo-Pacific through free and fair trade and investment.”

Pacific Trade Deal Is a Big Deal, With U.S. or Not: QuickTake

The yen declined against all of its Group-of-10 peers on early signs the Trump-Abe meetings won’t see new trade demands from the U.S.

As for South Korea: While the nation isn’t in the TPP, it may look to become a member should the U.S. decide to recommit, Bloomberg Law reported Tuesday, citing a trade ministry official, who was not authorized to be cited.

Democrats scrambling to derail fake news attacks in 2018 races

April 16, 2018

April 15, 2018 06:32 PM

Updated April 15, 2018 06:32 PM

Senators Tell Facebook CEO the Days of Self-Regulation May End — “Your user agreement sucks,” Senator John Kennedy says

April 11, 2018


By Todd Shields, Steven T. Dennis , and Sarah Frier

  • Data leak brings Facebook’s Zuckerberg before Senate panels
  • Democrats lean in toward regulation of online privacy
Watch the Highlights from Mark Zuckerberg’s Marathon Congressional Testimony


Senators grilling Facebook Inc.’s co-founder Mark Zuckerberg over a data leak signaled they may move to rein in the social media giant, which has thrived as part of an online industry that’s largely escaped regulation.

“Your user agreement sucks,” Senator John Kennedy, a Louisiana Republican, told the 33-year-old CEO on Tuesday. “I don’t want to vote to have to regulate Facebook, but by God I will. A lot of that depends on you.”

Mark Zuckerberg on April 10

Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg

Zuckerberg spent hours as the sole witness before a joint hearing of two committees mustering almost half of the U.S. Senate members. The appearance followed the revelation that data from as many as 87 million users was siphoned to Cambridge Analytica, a British firm with ties to the 2016 campaign of President Donald Trump.

Facebook shares jumped to their highest level in more than two weeks, and closed up 4.5 percent Tuesday. The stock was down 0.40 percent Wednesday premarket.

Zuckerberg is to testify Wednesday before the House Energy and Commerce Committee, rounding out a Capitol Hill tour that’s part apology and part defense of the company that’s grown to encompass 2 billion users worldwide since being founded in a Harvard University dorm room in 2004. On Tuesday, Zuckerberg said he was willing to consider new restrictions, and agreed to send suggestions to Congress.

“My position is not that there should be no regulation,” Zuckerberg said. “The real question, as the internet becomes more important in people’s lives, is what is the right regulation.”

Understanding the Facebook-Cambridge Analytica Story: QuickTake

Facebook, fending off the Cambridge Analytica furor, has promised steps to improve transparency, saying, for instance, that it would create a searchable archive for federal election ads. Some lawmakers said they didn’t view Facebook’s recent steps as enough. Senators said there will be more hearings. Some greeted Zuckerberg with thinly disguised belligerence.

‘Dark Side’

Senator Lindsey Graham, in a statement after questioning Zuckerberg, said there is ”a dark side to Facebook.”

“Facebook is a virtual monopoly and monopolies need to be regulated,” said Graham, a South Carolina Republican.

“The status quo no longer works,” said Senator Chuck Grassley of Iowa, the chairman of the Judiciary Committee. “Congress must determine if and how we need to strengthen privacy standards.”

Republicans hold majorities in both houses of Congress, and the party has historically been averse to regulating industry, so their statements envisioning regulation carry significance. At Tuesday’s hearing GOP senators including Roger Wicker, of Mississippi, and Orrin Hatch, of Utah, cautioned against regulation.

Democrats are ready to lean in, casting the Cambridge Analytica scandal as a watershed.

“Oh sure, I think we’re going to have to do privacy legislation now,” Senator Amy Klobuchar, a Minnesota Democrat, said in an interview during the hearing.

‘Day of Reckoning’

“The day of reckoning for American privacy has arrived,” said Senator Ed Markey, of Massachusetts. “Facebook now has to deal with how much people understand about how vulnerable all their information is and how few protections are on the books. So I do think this is a legislating moment.”

Markey said he introduced a privacy bill Tuesday, co-sponsored with Connecticut’s Richard Blumenthal, a fellow Democrat, that offers a suite of new protections for consumers.

How Russia Meddling Became Social Media’s Problem: QuickTake Q&A

The leading legislative vehicle, the Honest Ads Act, introduced last year, would put online companies under disclosure rules like those in place for political ads on TV, where information is disclosed about who paid for the ad.

The bill picked up Zuckerberg’s endorsement last week as the Facebook leader began his contrition tour. The measure, sponsored by Democrats and one Republican — Senator John McCain, of Arizona — picked up more industry backing on Tuesday, as Twitter Inc. said the bill “provides an appropriate framework.” The company said it would work to “refine and advance” the proposal.

Silent Google

Klobuchar, a co-sponsor of the act, welcomed Twitter’s stance and called for Alphabet Inc.’s Google to support the bill. Google declined to comment.

“Whether it’s on Facebook, Twitter, Google, or another site, Americans have a right to know who is paying to influence public discourse regardless of where ads are sold — and a standard across platforms is crucial,” Klobuchar said in a statement.

Zuckerberg under questioning refused to offer a blanket endorsement of legislation to ensure that users’ information is shared only after they give specific permission — a regime known as “opt-in.” Now, Facebook users may have little knowledge of what applications are seeking their data. Zuckerberg said he would support requiring opt-in “as a principle” but when it comes to laws, “the details matter a lot.”

Senator Dan Sullivan, an Alaska Republican, observed that legislation could end up cementing a dominant power. “Do you think that’s a risk,” he asked Zuckerberg, who replied, “That certainly wouldn’t be our approach.”

Honest Ads

The Honest Ads proposal, centered on disclosure, is an important step but more needs to be done, said Fred Wertheimer, president of Democracy21, a Washington-based group that seeks to eliminate what it calls “the undue influence of big money in American politics.”

Congress should strengthen prohibitions against foreign spending on political ads, Wertheimer said. Current law didn’t anticipate circumstances like Russian groups pushing campaign-related ads online, he said.

Facebook has disclosed that posts from a Russian company known for pushing Kremlin propaganda had reached the news feeds of 126 million users.

How Russia Meddling Became Social Media’s Problem: QuickTake Q&A

Whether Washington acts or not, Facebook needs to step forward and “fix the problems,” Wertheimer said.

“They can’t humble their way out of this,” he added. “Apologies are fine but they don’t solve the problem.”

The Honest Ads Act “is dealing with the tip of an iceberg,” said Meredith McGehee, executive director at Issue One, a policy group that promotes transparency and disclosure. “There’s a lot of things that are on social media, that are on these platforms, that would not be captured by the Honest Ads Act.”

There’s a galaxy of manipulators that U.S. regulation doesn’t touch — “the fake personas, the bots,” that sow disinformation, McGehee said. She said hearings are needed to illuminate the issue.

In response to the Cambridge Analytica leak, the Federal Trade Commission has opened a probe that could result in millions of dollars of fines for Facebook. Separately, the Federal Election Commission is moving toward requiring online political ads to show details of sponsorship — a proposal that even commission members characterize as a narrow reform.

— With assistance by Bill Allison, and Arit John

Includes video:


  (Includes links to our Facebook archive)

Facebook Fraud: Australian linked to fake ‘Black Lives Matter’ Facebook page — fake page had almost 700,000 followers — fundraising campaigns brought in more than US$100,000

April 10, 2018


© AFP/File | A co-founder of the Black Lives Matter movement, Patrisse Cullors, tweeted that she had complained to Facebook and Twitter about numerous fake accounts

SYDNEY (AFP) – A high-level Australian union official was suspended Tuesday amid claims he was involved in a fake “Black Lives Matter” Facebook page that raked in thousands of dollars in donations.Broadcaster CNN reported that the fake page had almost 700,000 followers — more than twice as many as the official Black Lives Matter page — before it was suspended.

It allegedly ran fundraising campaigns earning more than US$100,000, purportedly for Black Lives Matters causes in the United States.

CNN claimed that some of the money was transferred to Australian bank accounts, raising new questions about the integrity of Facebook’s platform and the content hosted there.

A senior Australia’s National Union of Workers figure — who is white — was linked to the fake page and other black rights websites by the broadcaster.

The union, which represents workers across various industries, said two people had been suspended.

“The NUW has launched an investigation into claims made by a CNN report and has suspended the relevant officials pending the outcome of an investigation,” National Secretary Tim Kennedy said in a statement.

“The NUW is not involved in and has not authorised any activities with reference to claims made in CNN’s story.”

Black Lives Matter is an activist organisation set up in the United States to campaign against violence and racism against black people.

A co-founder of the movement, Patrisse Cullors, tweeted that she had complained to Facebook and Twitter about numerous fake accounts.

“These fake BLM accounts and fake BLM people literally stealing money off of Black Death is so stomach churning I can’t even begin to explain,” she said.

“We told fb over and over again to shut that shit down. And it wouldn’t. Glad it’s down now.”

The revelations come with Facebook — used by two billion people — under huge pressure globally for massive lapses in protecting personal data.

Chief executive Mark Zuckerberg was testifying this week before the US Congress to explain how user privacy was compromised at the world’s biggest social network and how he intends to fix it.


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New York Post

The largest Black Lives Matter page on Facebook is reportedly a fraud — run by a white man in Australia who used it to take in more than $100,000 in donations.

The page was simply called “Black Lives Matter” and had nearly 700,000 followers, compared with the 322,000 for the verified page of the same name, CNN reported Monday.

The bogus page has been suspended and online payment platforms PayPal, Patreon, Donorbox and Classy have stopped working with it.

Some of the money raised through the fake page reportedly went into a bank in Australia.

The page was tied to Ian Mackay, an official with the National Union of Workers in Australia. He has served as an organizer and branch vice president, CNN reported

He’s been suspended pending a union investigation.

“The NUW is not involved in, and has not authorized, any activities with reference to claims made in CNN’s story,” said union national secretary Tim Kennedy.

CNN reported that Mackay has registered dozens of Web sites, many of which claim to be tied to black-rights issues.

In April 2015, he registered using his name, e-mail address and phone number.

Patrisse Cullors, a BLM co-founder, said she was troubled by the apparent scam.

“We rely on donors who believe in our work and our cause and that [the] money will be used in a way that is respectful,” Cullors said.

DeRay McKesson, another prominent BLM activist, said the fast rise of the movement has left it vulnerable to such schemes.

“It’s important to remember the movement was organic and no organizations started the protests that spread across the country,” McKesson said. “The consequences of that is it hasn’t been easy to think about authenticity in the digital space.”


“Looks Like a Perp Walk” — Zuckerberg Won’t Be Under Oath During Congressional Hearings Tuesday — But Photos of Him on Capitol Hill Monday Reminded Cops of Guilty Bad Guys

April 10, 2018

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg walks by a sign for Bill Nelson's office
Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg leaves a Senate office on Monday. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

When Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg takes the stand before a joint congressional panel on Tuesday, he will not be under oath, Breitbart News has learned. But he will be required by federal statute to tell the truth, and if he lies he could face serious legal consequences.

A senior Senate GOP aide helping organize the joint Senate Judiciary Committee and Senate Commerce Committee hearing told Breitbart News that it is standard practice not to swear witnesses like this in under oath. But they are required by law to tell the truth, the aide says.

“He won’t be under oath, but he is under legal obligation to tell the truth,” the Senate aide told Breitbart News of Zuckerberg.

The Senate hearing, the first of two appearances Zuckerberg will make before Congress this week, begins at 2:15 p.m. ET on Capitol Hill. Judiciary Committee chairman Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) will begin by explaining how the joint committee hearing will operate, then opening statements will be made by Senate Commerce Committee chairman Sen. John Thune (R-SD), Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Grassley, and Commerce Committee ranking member Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL).

Zuckerberg himself will deliver a five-minute statement as well; then the hearing will be open to committee members for questioning the highly controversial Facebook CEO and founder.

Between the two committees, a whopping 44 senators will have the opportunity to question Zuckerberg on Tuesday afternoon.

This is just the first of two official testimony appearances Zuckerberg will make on Capitol Hill this week. After the Senate hearing on Tuesday, Zuckerberg will return to the Capitol on Wednesday for another hearing on the other side of Capitol Hill before the House Commtitee on Energy and Commerce.

Twitter: 1 million accounts suspended for ‘terrorism promotion’

April 5, 2018


© AFP/File | Twitter says more than one million accounts have been suspended since 2015 for “promotion of terrorism”

WASHINGTON (AFP) – Twitter said Thursday it has suspended over one million accounts for “promotion of terrorism” since 2015, claiming its efforts have begun to make the platform “an undesirable place” to call for violence.In its latest transparency report, Twitter said it suspended 274,460 accounts between July and December 2017 “for violations related to the promotion of terrorism.”

The figure is down 8.4 percent from the previous reporting period and is the second consecutive decline, a Twitter statement said.

“We continue to see the positive, significant impact of years of hard work making our site an undesirable place for those seeking to promote terrorism, resulting in this type of activity increasingly shifting away from Twitter,” said the statement from the messaging platform’s public policy team.

Twitter has faced pressure from governments around the world to crack down on jihadists and others calling for violent attacks, while at the same time maintaining an open platform for free speech.

In the latest six-month reporting period, Twitter said 93 percent of the suspended accounts were “flagged by internal, proprietary tools,” and that 74 percent were cut off before their first tweet.

It said government reports of violations related to the promotion of terrorism represent less than 0.2 percent of all suspensions in the period.

Twitter also used the report to express concerns about what it called “legal threats to freedom of expression” online in countries around the world.

“With the passage of new legislation and ongoing regulatory discussions taking place around the world about the future of public discourse online, we are seeing a potential chilling effect with regards to freedom of expression,” the report said.

It cited a Human Rights Watch report suggesting that “governments around the world (are) increasingly look to restrict online speech by forcing social media companies to act as their censors.”

China cracks down on spoofs of ‘Communist heroes’ — No “distorting or mocking” classic works — In fact, “no laughing” — Kim Jong Un cannot be called ‘Fatty’

April 3, 2018


© AFP | Authorities are clamping down on any mocking of China’s “communist classics and heroes”

BEIJING (AFP) – China’s culture watchdog has slapped fines on websites that posted parodies of “Communist classics and heroes”, as the authorities further restrict what people can say — or even laugh at — online.Major video sites iQiyi and Sina were handed undisclosed fines for “distorting or mocking” classic works, the culture ministry said, less than two weeks after new rules were issued to ban online spoofs.

The ministry did not describe the offending videos.

But another company in southwest China’s Sichuan province, Sichuan Shengshi Tianfu Media, was given “the highest fine according to law” for creating a popular parody of a revolutionary ballad, the ministry said in a Monday statement.

“Yellow River Cantata”, a patriotic song written in 1939 encouraging youth to fight during the Sino-Japanese war, has inspired several humorous remakes that have chafed the authorities.

One viral video this year featured employees from the Sichuan company in panda hats, lamenting delays in year-end bonuses.

China has one of the world’s most restrictive internets, with a “Great Firewall” that blocks foreign social media websites such as Facebook and Twitter and censors politically sensitive content.

Despite the censorship, the internet is wildly popular in China, with people turning to video parodies to mock state media or highlight pressing social issues.

But China’s media regulator — the State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television — issued a directive on March 22 banning websites from “editing, dubbing, or adding subtitles to classic works, radio and television programmes, or original online audio-visual programs.”

Nearly 12,000 officers have been deployed to monitor online content, the culture ministry said. Censors have investigated over 7,800 entities and found more than 230 violations, it said.

Authorities are also targeting online game developers who promote gambling or use pornographic content.

The new rule was announced just over a week after a TV reporter’s theatrical during a Beijing news conference on the sidelines of the annual parliament session took social media by storm.

The video triggered a series of satirical performances, some mocking the scripted nature of the rubber-stamp parliament, before censors intervened.

The congress greenlighted the abolition of presidential term limits, paving the way for President Xi Jinping to stay in power after his second term ends in 2023.


 Image result for Liang Xiangyi, eye roll, china, photos

Liang, standing next to the questioner, Zhang Huijun, rolled her eyes, looked Zhang up and down then turned away with another dismissive raising of the eyes.

China wants to bring Alibaba and its other tech giants back home

April 2, 2018

Russia Today (RT)

April 2, 2018

Image may contain: skyscraper, night, sky and outdoor

Financial district of Pudong in Shanghai, China © Aly Song / Reuters

Big Chinese foreign-listed technology companies could soon see their shares bought and sold at home as authorities seek to lure them back to native shores.

The State Council has unveiled the pilot program, which is called Chinese depositary receipts (CDRs) and would apply to companies that went public overseas and have a market value of more than 200 billion yuan ($32 billion). It will allow firms to use corporate structures that aren’t permitted on the mainland, and money raised can be moved offshore.

It will be also easier for some private companies to come to market. The statement said private firms valued at more than 20 billion yuan ($3.2 billion) with revenue of 3 billion yuan ($477,000) or more in the past year will also be eligible for the program.

China has the world’s fastest-growing and highest-valued tech businesses. However, companies such as e-commerce giant Alibaba and search engine firm Baidu have landed offshore, leaving the local market reliant on state-run industries for large new listings.

“There’s a strong desire to see local champions, these technology companies, come back onshore – and CDRs is one way of doing this,” David Smith, Asia head of corporate governance at Aberdeen Standard Investments, told Bloomberg.

“High-tech and other innovative enterprises may, in light of the new CDR regime and ongoing competition between onshore and offshore equity exchanges, be reconsidering their IPO plans,” said John Xu from the Shanghai-based law firm, Linklaters LLP.

He explained that a dual listing in China and in an offshore market may now be realistic. “With the new CDR market as an additional source of finance, it may no longer be necessary to unwind existing VIE structures, or restructure shares into the same class, for the purpose of an onshore listing,” said Xu.

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China eases capital controls as cash outflow fears subside

1:45 AM – Apr 2, 2018
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No companies have yet stated that they will participate in the trial but the heads of several firms have previously expressed interest.

Analyst at Essence Securities Zhou Haibin has identified six foreign-listed companies that meet the plan’s thresholds. They include Alibaba, Baidu,, NetEase, China Mobile and China Telecom. All of them are listed either in New York or in Hong Kong.

Facebook Data Scandal Raises Another Question: Can There Be Too Much Privacy?

April 1, 2018

Are encrypted messaging apps like Telegram and Signal safeguarding your data, or a threat to society?

Image result for Telegram, encrypted messaging apps, photos

WASHINGTON—The firestorm over Facebook Inc.’s handling of personal data raises a question for those pondering a regulatory response: Is there such a thing as too much privacy?

Recent scrutiny of data-analytics firm Cambridge Analytica has shown how questionable actors can abuse the power of networks that play an increasingly large role in society. Facebook claims Cambridge Analytica violated its policies, a charge the firm denies. The firm, which counts Donald Trump’s presidential campaign among its clients, crunched the data of 50 million Facebook profiles claiming it could predict individual personality traits and make ads more effective.

Legislators, the Federal Trade Commission and other agencies now are considering rules to protect the privacy of users of social networks like Facebook. While those efforts remain in the early stages, even tech companies say privately they expect some regulation to happen down the road.

Yet some law-enforcement agencies, including the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and national-security advocates point to a tradeoff, noting that too much privacy can be as bad as too little. Bad actors take advantage of both extremes, abusing access to individuals on networks that are too open or freely conspiring on systems that are too closed.

Law-enforcement agencies rely on access to user data as an important tool for tracking criminals or preventing terrorist attacks. As such, they have long argued additional regulation may be harmful to national security.

Telegram is an example of a service offering users complete security. Encrypted from end to end, domiciled in a country out of reach of subpoenas—and very easy to use—the app is among the top choices of people worried about snooping governments and malicious third parties. Telegram’s reputation has been a double-edged sword.

Clinton Watts, a senior fellow at George Washington University’s Center for Cyber and Homeland Security, said such apps are a big concern for law enforcement. “This is perfect for terrorist groups that want to network, propagate their message and recruit new members,” he said.

Telegram is popular in countries like Iran, where it was instrumental in helping the population organize the wave of antigovernment protests that swept across the country in early January. But it also has become known as the app of choice for Islamic State and other extremist groups, after U.S.-based tech companies like Twitter Inc. began cooperating with government agencies, removing accounts and content that promoted violence.

Governments have little recourse. Iran blocked Telegram during government protests earlier this year, and Russia is threatening to block it unless it turns over user data.

Mr. Watts, who previously worked as an FBI special agent on a counterterrorism task force, said law-enforcement agencies need to invest a lot more in human intelligence and undercover investigators to penetrate secure online spaces.

Some U.S. firms are already adapting to fears of new regulation and offering even greater security than Telegram. Signal, in San Francisco, is emerging as one of the more successful examples. It says it deletes all user information once it is no longer necessary for communication, making it impossible to comply with demands for users’ personal data.

That would make Signal more secure than, for example, WhatsApp, the popular encrypted messaging service, which Facebook bought in 2014 and that stores information such as with whom users are communicating and when.

“When we receive a subpoena for user data,” Signal founder Moxie Marlinspike posted on the company’s website, we “have nothing to send back but a blank sheet of paper.”

Observers warn the #deletefacebook movement will drive more users to these secure systems.

Telegram’s founder, the Russian entrepreneur Pavel Durov, said the firm recorded 200 million active users in March, a 70% increase on the year. “We don’t do deals with marketers, data miners or government agencies,” he wrote in the post on Wednesday. “For us Telegram is an Idea: it is the idea that everyone on this planet has a right to be free.”

Mr. Durov has relocated the company several times since leaving Russia, where it faces a court order to turn over encryption keys to the intelligence services. It is now based in the United Arab Emirates.

Telegram’s terms are simple: No calls to violence, porn or copyright infringement on public channels. The app can’t take action on private channels because all private content is encrypted and largely inaccessible even to the company. The Telegram press team didn’t respond to repeated requests for comment, but the company says it closes hundreds of public channels every day that promote violence or extremist content.

Opportunities for terrorists to exploit secure networks to boost recruitment and spread propaganda were evident in the aftermath of the Friday’s attack in France, when 25-year-old Radouane Lakdim shot at police and took hostages at a small-town supermarket.

Islamic State supporters immediately rallied on Telegram channels, using the incident to call on others to take action and launch a public campaign on Twitter, according to SITE Intelligence Group, which monitors extremist activity online.

Now that U.S. firms are cooperating to an extent with government authorities, apps like Telegram fill an important gap in the market by providing a platform for terrorists to radicalize and spur members to action, said Jesse Morton, a former al Qaeda recruiter who works as a coordinator at the Institute of Strategic Dialogue‘s Against Violent Extremism network.

“People that are more committed and pose a greater risk are still able to view generalized propaganda,” Mr. Morton said. “It’s a grooming process.”

Write to Jessica Donati at