Protests in Iran fanned by exiled journalist, messaging app

Protests in Iran fanned by exiled journalist, messaging app

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.

"A Telegram channel (amadnews) started to instruct their subscribers to use Molotov cocktails against police and got suspended due to our "no calls for violence" rule," CEO of Telegram Pavel Durov tweeted. "If confirmed, we'll have to block such a channel, regardless of its size and political affiliation". According to Iranian State TV, the government has temporarily blocked the services of these two platforms in a bid to "maintain peace".

Telegram has a large user base in Iran with around 40 million users and 25 million daily active users.

The Iranian government hinged its decision to block the messaging apps on security.

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

As protests over Iran's faltering economy rapidly spread across the country, a channel on a mobile messaging app run by an exiled journalist helped fan the passions of some of those who took to the street.


Telegram also touts its end-to-end encryption, meaning every device with Telegram installed has its own encryption keys, which in theory would prevent a government that intercepted Telegram messages from being able to read them.

Several Iranian news agencies also warned Telegram, the most popular social media service in the country, might soon be shut down after communications minister Mohammad-Javad Azari Jahromi accused one channel, Amadnews, of encouraging an "armed uprising". We are proud that Telegram is used by thousands of massive opposition channels all over the world.

The most popular alternative among USA activists is Signal, which offers similar group chat features with more robust encryption - but Signal is blocked in Iran for an entirely different reason.

Many users from within Iran have reported severe difficulty in accessing any foreign websites, though domestic sites seem unaffected, said Amir Rashidi, who works as an internet security researcher at the Center for Human Rights in Iran, and who has collected dozens of complaints about usage.

In the past, some Iranians have found ways to get around government restrictions by using tools that evaded Iran's censorship technology. In doing so, Google could allow the app to become widely available in Iran in a matter of hours. It happened in many states in India and many other countries internationally. "The U.S.is watching!"

Last year Durov was forced to deny that Telegram had moved some of its servers to the country - saying rather it had installed some local caching nodes to speed up download times. It's very hard for social media platforms and messaging apps to operate under tight regulations in Iran.

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