Iran Ramps Up Online Censorship But Keeps Internet On As Protests Continue

Iran Ramps Up Online Censorship But Keeps Internet On As Protests Continue

Telegram has a large user base in Iran - with Durov stating past year that it has ~40M monthly active users, which amounts to around half the population of the country, and 25M daily active users.

Zam has used the app to share news and information published by his AmadNews website.

Over the past four days, some groups of people joined demonstrations in several cities including the capital Tehran, Mashhad and Kermanshah to protest against high prices.

Officials have meanwhile targeted Telegram in recent remarks, with prosecutors going as far as filing criminal charges against Durov.

- MJ Azari Jahromi (@azarijahromi) December 30, 2017Calls for violence are prohibited by the Telegram rules. According to CNN, reporters were able to contact Iranian Telegram users despite the ostensible block; access was "slower than usual but messages eventually got through". After years of diplomatic pressure, United States companies face significant regulations on any technology exported to Iran, and it's often unclear how those rules extend to cloud services like AppEngine.

Durov said that the public channel @amadnews was suspended after participants were found to be promoting violence.

Telegram's "public channels" are an important source of news for many in Iran partly because competing services such as Twitter and Facebook have long since been blocked.

Government officials have accused social media platforms of fueling dissent and emboldening protesters. Source Business Insider
Government officials have accused social media platforms of fueling dissent and emboldening protesters. Source Business Insider

While apps like Telegram and Signal are now blocked by the Iranian authorities, WhatsApp remains fully accessible in Iran.

'Telegram will face increasing pressure over time to collaborate with the Iranian government's demands for this or that, ' Snowden wrote on Twitter.

Following the social unrest across Iran, starting on Thursday, the government started blocking access to social networks and messaging apps including Telegram and Instagram, while some controls were also put on Iranians' access to the Internet. "The government is holding talks with Supreme National Security Council to remove the made-up restrictions when peace is restored". Iranian officials have insisted that the Telegram ban is only temporary and will be lifted once the protests subside.

It also marks a setback for Zam, the son of Shiite cleric Mohammad Ali Zam, a reformist who once served in a government policy position in the early 1980s.

Among the telecoms company was Hamrahe Aval, the primary Mobile Telecommunication Company of Iran (MTCI or MCI) as social media continues to play a pivotal role in documenting mass protests and subsequent brutal crackdown on peaceful protesters in the country. Trust us not to close your channel.

"A Telegram channel is urging people to incite insecurity and use home-made bombs and arms".

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?

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