The social media is coming under threat again as authorities in Iran are threatening to add Instagram to already banned websites in the Islamic country. Instagram is the only social media platform that has not come under the hammer of the Islamic country, but that exclusivity is about to be thrown out of the window if the country goes ahead to carry out its threat.
Citing threat to national security, the National Cyberspace Council according to Fortune, has approved steps towards implementing the block. The list of already banned social media websites in Iran include Twitter, YouTube, Facebook, and Telegram. Add Instagram to that list, and you probably have a complete crackdown on the major social media websites available.
In Iran, Instagram is widely accessible via proxy servers and enjoys patronage from high profile government officials including Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, President Hassan Rouhani, and Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif.
Javad Javidnia, deputy for cyberspace affairs at the public prosecutor’s office who cited threat to security as the reason for the potential block, said all efforts to filter Instagram had failed to achieve desired results.
Though, judicial and political officials involved in taking decisions on the matter had not reached a consensus as at the time of posting this, Fortune reports that the prosecutor can take a unilateral decision to block Instagram, Javidnia said.
Messaging app Telegram and ephemeral picture sharing app Instagram both had their services suspended by authorities in that country last January during a nationwide protest. Not quite of a surprise that, but that action drew reaction from the US government.
Undersecretary of State Steve Goldstein said that the United States wants Iran to “open these sites,” per the New York Daily. Describing the activities of Instagram and Telegram as “legitimate avenues for communication,” Goldstein called on Iranian authorities to restore the services of the two social networking apps.
The Iranian government hinged its decision to block the messaging apps on security. According to state-run media, the move was encouraged by the need to “maintain tranquility and security of society.”
Apparently, authorities in that country followed that line of action in response to widespread protests in Iran. Not the first time though—Facebook was banned in 2009 by the Iranian government after protests erupted following the reelection of president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
Blocks, suspensions and threats of outright bans are nothing new to Telegram. The app has a long history of being on the wrong sides of government authorities—Russia, Indonesia and the rest.
We certainly have not heard the last about the proposed Instagram block in Iran. Be sure to check back as we will keep you posted as soon as an update becomes available.