After Telegram Censors Protests, Twitter Acts As Media Proxy

Henrietta Strickland
January 13, 2018

"Regime in Iran can shut down signal, telegram, etc., but differently from 2009, the whole country is connected and they have a long list of other messaging apps to use", tweeted Jared Cohen, founder and chief executive of Jigsaw, an Alphabet company, and a senior fellow on the Council of Foreign Relations.

As anti-government protests in Iran spilled into its third day, nearly complete media black-out have paved way for social media to report on the biggest protests since 2009 Green Movement.

Telegram has a large user base in Iran - with Durov stating previous year that it has ~40M monthly active users, which amounts to around half the population of the country, and 25M daily active users. "The admins of the channel reached out to us after the fact, apologising for breaking our rules and pledging not to promote violence in the future".

"We consider freedom of speech an undeniable human right, and would rather get blocked in a country by its authorities than limit peaceful expression of alternative opinions", he added. However both Telegram and Instagram will witness major loss due to this decision of Iran Government. Not the first time though-Facebook was banned in 2009 by the Iranian government after protests erupted following the reelection of president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

"A Telegram channel is encouraging hateful conduct, use of Molotov cocktails, armed uprising, and social unrest".

Iran is not the only country to clamp down on social media in this way. Today we saw the communications minister demand a big channel be shut down.Should Telegram shut one Iranian channel down to preserve access to all the others?

There are also multiple reports indicating that the country has expanded the clampdown on online communication to include the periodic blocking of access to all mobile data in several Iranian cities. In 2016, the Iranian government started to put pressure on messaging services operating there to move their servers within its borders, sparking fears of privacy breaches. Authorities are temporarily blocking Telegram and Instagram to "maintain peace", according to the AP.

Durov also told that Telegram admins had suspended the channel that Jaharomi had been objecting to.

'I found that you crossed the red line, ' the cleric wrote, referring to comments the channel circulated about Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

However, this surge in popularity has attracted the attention of the Iranian government.

The "core" problem, he believes, is the centralized nature of the app, which is entirely controlled by its developers, who insist that they will never reveal their user data, or comply with illegal requests by governments. It's very hard for social media platforms and messaging apps to operate under tight regulations in Iran. "Even in working hours, internet is not really that normal".

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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