Dec 31, 2017

Telegram blocks channel promoting violence against Iran's government

Protestors in Tehran. Photo: Anadolu Agency / Getty Images

Telegram — a messaging platform used by 40 million of Iran's 80 million people — is shutting down a channel on its app that was encouraging users to carry out violent protests against the Iranian government and use Molotov cocktails against police officers, Recode reports.

In a tweet to Telegram CEO Pavel Durov, Iranian official Mohammad-Javad Azari Jahromi said Telegram was promoting violent protest. After the claim was confirmed and the channel — amadnews — was blocked, Durov tweeted, "Be careful — there are lines one shouldn't cross."

Why it matters, per Axios' Sara Fischer: Social media and internet access has allowed likeminded groups and ideas to collect in ways they couldn't before. Many argued access to tech platforms like Facebook and Twitter helped facilitate protests that led to democratic revolution during the Arab Spring in 2012. And regimes in China and Russia censor their citizens from social media to avoid such uprisings.

Go deeper: The latest AFP report on the protests say 2 have been killed.

Go deeper

Coronavirus updates: First case in sub-Saharan Africa confirmed

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins, the CDC, and China's Health Ministry. Note: China numbers are for the mainland only and U.S. numbers include repatriated citizens.

Nigeria confirmed its first novel coronavirus case in an Italian who flew to Lagos from Milan — the first known case in sub-Saharan Africa. The World Health Organization has been working to prepare Africa's health care systems to be ready for the outbreak, which is now also confirmed in Algeria and Egypt.

The big picture: COVID-19 has killed more than 2,850 people and infected over 83,700 others in some 50 countries and territories. The novel coronavirus is now affecting every continent but Antarctica, and the WHO said Wednesday the number of new cases reported outside China has exceeded those inside the country for the first time.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 2 hours ago - Health

Ad spending on 2020 primary tops $1 billion

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Spending on the 2020 presidential primary has officially surpassed the $1 billion mark, with more than half of that total coming from billionaire Michael Bloomberg, according to data from Advertising Analytics.

Why it matters: It's the most money that has been spent this early on in an election cycle in U.S. history.

The growing coronavirus recession threat

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

In just a matter of weeks, top economists and investment bank analysts have gone from expecting the coronavirus outbreak to have minimal impact on the U.S. economy to warning that an outright recession may be on the horizon.

What's happening: The spread of confirmed coronavirus cases in Europe, the Middle East and the U.S., and the speed at which they are being discovered has set the table for the outbreak to have a larger and much costlier impact.