Social media access restricted in Iran

Telegram shuts down ‘violence-inciting’ channel at Iran’s request angers Snowden

Dado Ruvic Reuters

Curbing freedom of press, and suspending internet services have, however, not deterred the protesters who are taking to social media to report on the protests, but is it enough?

"As the protests grow in Iran, the internet is getting worse and worse and worse", Rashidi told BuzzFeed News.

According to Deputy Head of New Businesses Committee of Iran Chamber of Commerce, Industries, Mines and Agriculture (ICCIMA) Afshin Kolahi, there are 10,000 to 15,000 totally virtual businesses in Iran.

While Twitter was used to get news of the protests out to the world, it is unclear how much of a role it or any service played to help organize political actions. Back then, less than a million people had smartphones and a lot of them were concentrated in Tehran. More than 50 percent of Iranians are online. The government's decision on putting controls on the Internet access and messaging apps, under such conditions, has unfortunately exacerbated the economic conditions of virtual Iranian businesses.

"Iran is failing at every level despite the bad deal made with them by the Obama Administration".

Earlier, Durov had claimed that more than forty million people use Telegram in Iran.

The rules of @telegram prohibit calls for violence and hate speech. Facebook's Instagram is the second most popular service.

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Many observers have also taken to Twitter - another officially blocked social platform - to try to make sense of the protests, which have been unprecedented in terms of their geographical spread since the Islamic revolution in 1979.

"The Iranian government also requested suspension for a number of other channels that had not violated the policy on violence".

But the activists, many of them students, found a technological loophole to stay connected and spread their message using the peer-to-peer "mesh messaging" app FireChat.

As the violent protests entered their fourth day despite the warnings of a crackdown, the Iranian government has restricted access to popular messaging and photo sharing apps on mobile phones, Iranian media reported on Sunday. There are 40 million to 46 million Telegram accounts in Iran. However, the following procedure will be useless in the cities where the whole Internet is blocked. As it is, she said, Iranians have proved to be resourceful in finding ways to communicate. Mobile devices are more restricted than computers, making it more hard to circumvent Iran's internet filters, he added.

More importantly, they subscribe to public channels to get the news that is not available on state media.

Iranian-American Middle East analyst Holly Dagres said access to VPNs, which are easily bought at shops, aren't necessarily safe from the government's gaze. It is used by millions of people globally and has been criticized by USA and European officials for allowing extremist groups and terrorists to communicate secretly.

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